For our ninth wedding anniversary, the Godfather and I decided to take the circus up to New York City for a whirlwind weekend and a Yankees game. We figured it fit since the modern 9th anniversary gift is leather and baseball gloves are leather. The last time we were in NYC, it was well before Ava entered our lives and we traveled without Dolce, so it was a bit of a different experience, but this last trip was fun. We explored some new areas, returned to a few favorites, and went to the Union Square Green Market. I picked up some gorgeous pink peonies that graced our home for a week after we returned and some fresh organic rhubarb.
I had plans for the rhubarb, so many plans, but as sometimes happens after vacation, we got home and things got very busy so I had little time to experiment. My rhubarb dreams had to be shelved temporarily and most of the rhubarb is sitting in my freezer waiting, but I couldn’t bring myself not to do anything before freezing the rhubarb, so I made some strawberry rhubarb jam.
I had two requirements to consider this jam a success. First, I wanted it to taste delicious (duh) and second, I wanted the fruit to shine through. One of my biggest pet peeves with many jams is that the sugar levels can be so high, you don’t taste the fruit! Rhubarb is slightly bitter, but has a delicate flavor, and a lot of rhubarb jam recipes seemed to call for more sugar than normal, resulting in a very sweet jam. So I thought about it a bit, and decided I would buy a low sugar pectin and modify a low sugar strawberry jam recipe to include rhubarb. It actually worked perfectly and I’m very pleased with the results. So much so, that even though rhubarb season is over, I’m posting this anyway so, should you happen to find a bit of rhubarb at the end of the summer, you’ll know what to do. Otherwise, it’s never too early to plan for next year!
I use a water bath canner to make my jam because I don’t make enough to merit trying to squeeze a pressure canner into our tiny kitchen, so you can totally do this without specialty equipment… almost. I have this canning essentials set by Progressive, and it was seriously the best “investment” I made into canning (it’s under $20, super affordable), and has all the little gadgets I need. The two things that make my life easier are the funnel and the jar lifter. So if you don’t have those, I’d recommend them, because once you make homemade jam, you’re never going back to store bought, promise.
- 2 lbs hulled and diced strawberries
- 1 lb diced rhubarb
- 1⅔ c unsweetened cranberry juice
- 5 tbsp low-sugar pectin (I used Ball Low Sugar Pectin)
- 1 c sugar
- Sanitize your jars and lids for preserving (I usually run them through a dishwasher cycle on the top rack with heated dry and leave it closed until time to fill), and fill a large, deep pot with water. Set the pot (your water bath canner) over medium high heat while you make the jam. It takes a long time for the water to come to a boil!
- Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, and cranberry juice in another pot. If you don't want chunks of fruit in your preserves, mash the strawberries first using a potato masher. I like the fruit bits, so I don't mash. Bring just to a boil and stir in the pectin.
- Add the sugar and return the jam to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat and skim off any foam that has formed.
- Ladle hot jam into your sanitized jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Wipe the rims with a clean kitchen towel and cover with a lid and band. Tighten the band to fingertip tightness, that's not super tight, just to the point where it's fitted.
- Place the filled jars into your water bath canner (which should have a nice steady boil by now) and make sure that the jars are covered by 1-2" of water. If they aren't, add more water, and bring the temperature back up to a steady boil.
- Process jars for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove lid and let jars stand for 5 minutes.
- Using a jar lifter, remove the jars carefully from your canner and place on a rack or clean kitchen towel in an out of the way place to cool. They should not be disturbed for the next 24 hours. You'll start to hear the lids "popping" in a bit as they seal.
- After the resting/cooling time, check the lids, they shouldn't move up and down. Remove the bands to confirm a good seal, clean the jars, replace the bands if desired, and store in a cool dark place up to one year. Refrigerate immediately after opening, and use within 3 weeks.