I’m back in the saddle again. And by that I mean the jammin’ season has officially arrived.
My cousin Amy called me up and offered me some rhubarb from her garden. “Heck yea I’d like some rhubarb!” So on my way home from work I stopped by her house and picked up a big bag of fresh cut rhubarb. Mmm…..
Gorgeous! I cleaned this up, trimmed it and weighed it. I had almost 5 lbs.
I chopped up about half of it and mixed it with some sugar. I like to macerate my fruits when I’m jammin’. Usually overnight is best but even a couple of hours can make a real difference.
I let this sit, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours.
In the meantime I went down to the freezer to see what I had left in the way of last year’s fruits. The answer – not much. But I did have this bag of black raspberries. Black raspberry rhubarb sounded pretty good.
I chopped up the remaining rhubarb, larger pieces this time – about an inch and a half, and tossed it with some sugar and the black raspberries and put it in the fridge. It will macerate over night and then I’ll do the next round of jam.
For the first batch I decided on a vanilla rhubarb jam. I had some vanilla beans and a little time on Google proved it’s a good combo.
I brought the macerated rhubarb to a gentle boil and then added the juice of a lemon and two small vanilla beans (halved and scraped). I let this cook for about ten minutes or so and then added a packet of liquid pectin.
I rarely use commercial pectin when jamming but research proved that rhubarb is very low in pectin and I only had one lemon in the fridge. So, I thought I’d add some pectin for a little boost. FYI – lemon is a great source of natural pectin. So are apples.
I let this cook for about 20 more minutes until it passed the freezer spoon test and my personal taste test . And then I started filling the jars.
This was my first jam session in my new kitchen. There were things I liked and didn’t like. First of all, there is no counter to the right of the stove so I had to work on my left hand side. The saving grace is one of those old school cupboard cutting boards that pulls out like a drawer. That gave me some much needed extra space.
I’m also no longer right next to the sink which is a bit inconvenient for keeping my jars hot. Post sterilization at the old place I’d hit them again with hot water from the tea kettle just before filling. This time I just dunked them in the canner right before filling. Not too bad but a little inconvenient. Maybe I’ll try keeping them in a warm oven next time.
Then on to the processing.
I used my pressure canner as a water bath canner and processed the vanilla rhubarb jam for 10 minutes.
I moved the jars to a baking sheet with a towel and then covered them with another kitchen towel where they sat undisturbed for 24 hours.
If you’re a patron of the Kent Haymaker Farmers’ Market this delicious Vanilla Rhubarb Jam will be up for grabs when the market starts on May 25th. Hope to see you there!