Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Canning Kick Continues--Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam

The finished product! 4 pints and 4 half-pints. There were also 8 baby food jars worth, but those went to co-workers.
So another canning adventure is finished. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so many little projects now while the weather is still pretty cool and the volume is small. My memories of canning were always very, very hot days and hundreds of quarts! I'm guessing I should go back and start at the beginning of this jam...

VERY long rhubarb!
A co-worker of mine brought in 6 stalks of very long rhubarb. It wasn't terribly thick, but the length was impressive! I cut it into smallish dice and put it into my enameled cast iron pot. To the rhubarb I added about 1 cup of sugar for each cup of rhubarb and just a touch of water. I cooked it over med heat and boiled it for about 15 minutes. It should have cooked down into a thickish sauce, but there was a lot of water in this rhubarb. I kept going with the recipe like I had done in the past, but I ended up having to do a fix later. Here's what it looked like at the beginning of the boil.

When it all got cooked down and soft I added Strawberry gelatin. I call this Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam because there isn't any strawberry in it and there is lots and lots of rhubarb! The mixture boils about 3 minutes (stirring the entire time) until it becomes a jam like consistency. Then you can freeze it or you can can it. Funny, can can!

Mine was rather watery after the boiling so I tasted it. WAY too much Jello. We decided to proceed and see what it was like after a night in the fridge. The next morning it had set up like jam, but still tasted like Jello! I should say it set up like Jello and tasted like it too :) Not really edible as jam in my opinion, although Mike would have eaten it. He loves his sugar!

The dilemma was that I had used all the rhubarb up and needed to fix all this jam. Luckily I found two gallon bags of rhubarb in my freezer! I defrosted them, took most of the water out, cooked it down till it was sauce like, added a bit of sugar and all the jam. When they were well combined it tasted much, much better and was the right consistency! Thank goodness I didn't have to waste so much fruit, sugar and gelatin.

I packaged a bunch of little jars to take to work and share and canned the rest in a water bath for 5 minutes. These little hodge podge jars are fitting for my hodge podge jam! They all sealed and we have more jam in our house than we've ever had and its only the middle of June.

Rough guess on my quantities:
26 cups or so of rhubarb (10 fresh and 16 frozen)
10 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of water
4 packs of strawberry gelatin

Anyone have any different kinds of jam recipes to share?


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