Strawberry Rhubarb is easily one of my favorite flavor combinations EVER. I love it in pies, cakes, pop tarts, bars, jams – any way I can get it. I’ve actually never made my own jam before, but when I acquired about 5lbs of rhubarb from my Grandpa, I needed something to do with all of it! So I decided it was high time to make some jam.
I’m still a bit intimidated by real canning, so I made freezer jam, figuring we’d be able to get through all of it relatively quickly. I don’t eat a lot of jam because it has a lot of sugar in it, and I feel like it’s empty calories, but I do really love it and was excited at the prospect of having my own, where I could control the sugar.
I looked through a ton of recipes, and settled on a Rhubarb Jam recipe from David Lebovitz. Since I had a lot more rhubarb than strawberries, this seemed like the perfect way to go. I also decided I didn’t want to use pectin, just because I’ve never used it and wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous that day, so I went without.
I was pleased to find that jam is really easy to make. You chop up your ingredients, toss them in a pot, and boil away with some sugar until the desired consistency is reached! Unfortunately, I don’t think I cooked mine for long enough, because the resulting jam was rather loose. I also added a bit less sugar than the recipe called for, because I didn’t want my jam to be cloyingly sweet, and I think that may have had something to do with the consistency.
Taste-wise, this jam is delicious! The flavor and texture is overwhelmingly rhubarb, but since it’s been cooked down so much – and so much sugar has been added – it’s not tart, just pleasantly sweet. The strawberry is subtle, but I think it rounds out the flavor of the jam nicely. The jam is still plenty sweet, but when slathered on bread and especially paired with peanut butter, it’s really wonderful.
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam
adapted from David Lebovitz
3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups strawberries (or other berries of your choice), fresh or frozen
1 cup water or apple juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt
1) In a large pot, mix the rhubarb, berries, and the water or apple juice. Cook, covered, stirring frequently over medium heat, until the rhubarb is cooked through and thoroughly tender. This should take about 15 minutes.
Put a small plate in the freezer.
2) Add the sugar, lemon juice, and salt, and continue to cook, uncovered, until the jam is thick. If using a candy thermometer, jam jells at approximately 220 degrees F.**
3) Once jam has reached 220 degrees F, ladle the jam into clean jars, cover, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
** If you aren’t using a candy thermometer, David Lebovitz also mentioned the wrinkle test. To try is, put a small plate in the freezer. Once frozen, place a small spoonful of the jam on the frozen plate. Return it to the freezer and check it a few minutes later; if the jam wrinkles when nudged, it’s done.