The rosy, ruby hue of this delightful rhubarb jam will shake you right out of the winter blues and the flavor will brighten up anything you add it to!
Spring came early this year for folks in the Pacific Northwest. For all my friends, family and followers elsewhere in the country, that have been impacted by the winter-that-would-not-end — I am truly, completely sorry… Because it is gorgeous around these parts and I am trying to enjoy every minute. Inwardly I worry about the lack of snow pack in the mountains and if we might have a hot dry summer ahead, but outwardly I am just a happy farm girl. My seed starts for this year’s garden are in various stages of establishment, the pastures are growing fast, the mud has dried and our valley has sprung to life.
It might be too early – but I am calling it. Spring is here to stay in the Pacific Northwest!
Last week I touched on a yummy little treat – rhubarb bar cookies. Fast forward just a few days and the first of the local rhubarb arrived at the market so I snapped up a few pounds of the rosy pink stalks for some lovely rhubarb jam. The first jam of the growing season!
Rhubarb is full of phyto-nutrients and vitamins like vitamins A, B and K. But jam, with all its sugar, can hardly be considered a health food. However, the fruits used can be so abundant in nutrients that I often reach for jams to sweeten things like yogurt or to top some oatmeal or even frosting… I have spent years working with low sugar and no added pectin recipes so that I can enjoy the fruity sweet goodness with less guilt. What I have arrived at are jams with bright, fully expressed fruit flavors, not completely over powered by a singular sugar note. A few simple additions and techniques can ensure that your jams result in a nice “gel”; perhaps not as gelatinous as some full sugar and added pectin recipes, but thick with a very, well, natural texture.
This rosy pink rhubarb jam is both sweet and tart, and accented by the bright clean acidity of orange (added to lend its pectin to the jam). Rhubarb jam is just delightful on an English muffin for breakfast – but I find yummy ways of using it elsewhere – like on top of creamy vanilla custard. Maybe this year I will throw a tablespoon or so into a secondary kombucha ferment to add flavor and extra sweetness.
So do your winter fatigued palate a favor and brighten up with some rhubarb jam!
Rhubarb Jam Recipe
- 2 pounds rhubarb
- 2 oranges
- 3 cups organic sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ water
- Clean and trim rhubarb and dice into 1/4" pieces. Note, depending on the amount that you need to trim away from the stalk, you may need to harvest or purchase more that two pounds in order to have a full two pounds for this recipe.
- Thoroughly wash 2 medium oranges. Cut off a small portion of the stem and blossom ends, then quarter the remaining orange, removing seeds. Place orange quarters into a food processor and process until orange is resembles a fine meal.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine rhubarb, orange, sugar, water and lemon juice. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Continue to simmer and stir until the mixtures thickens to a jam like consistency. It should coat the back of a spoon when properly reduced.
- Ladle into sterilized half pint jars leaving a 1/2" head space, wipe the rims clean, and twist on prepared lids and rings finger tight.
- Process in a water bath canner at a rolling boil for 10 minutes with at least one inch of water covering the lids of the jars.
- After processing, remove from canner and allow to rest until completely cool. Ensure that all seals have set and loosen or remove rings for storage.