I am just too busy right now…I have so many things I want to do, and the weekends just seem to fly by and my lists just get longer. Jam season is among us, and I feel like I could spend days in the kitchen (before it gets warm), cooking down fruit into a glorious state – just ready to pour into jars. I had all intentions of making some this weekend – but too many other things got in the way. I just hope I am not missing my opportunity for some of the ripe fruit – particularly rhubarb…
Last year when I took the jam class that really gave me the itch, one of the recipes we made was a wonderful rosemary rhubarb jelly. It was a glorious pink color – like a pink rose – and the taste was incredible. Even my younger daughter couldn’t get enough of that jelly with her peanut butter. At that point the rhubarb was just about done in the markets – and I was so disappointed – but I had so many other jams and jellies on my list, I didn’t think too much about it. I figured it would be at the top of my list for this year.
Late in the summer a friend of mine called me – she really wanted me to teach her how to make jam – with the fruit from her garden. She had frozen a ton of rhubarb and raspberries – two of the fruits that I didn’t have time to turn into jam. I was so excited. I found a recipe in Food in Jars for rhubarb jelly – and boy was it amazing. I actually made this jelly last summer, and it has been sitting in my pantry all this time. We have been slowly going through my stash of jam/jelly, and finally it was time to open this one. The color was not nearly as pink as the first time I made it in class – but I think it was the variety of rhubarb that we were using. The stalks were not deep red – but it didn’t matter at all. The jelly tasted incredible. My younger daughter told me again last week, “Don’t ever buy jam or jelly in the store again – I will only eat yours.” Ok – so is that a compliment or what?? I may not be super-mom (a story for another time) – but boy can I make jam and jelly. Maybe they will let it go to the top of the list next weekend…
- 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, chopped
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 (1.75 ounce/50 g packet) powdered pectin
Fill your canning pot with water and begin to bring it to temperature. Wash your jars and rings in warm soapy water and set aside. Put your lids in a small pot of water and heat (but do not boil) in order to soften the sealing compound.
Combine the chopped rhubarb and 3 cups water in a pot. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rhubarb has completely broken down and the water is tinted a vivid pink.
Line a large, fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the cooked rhubarb through. Let it sit and drip for at least 30 minutes. Do not press the rhubarb pulp, as that will make your jelly cloudy. Discard the solids in the sieve and measure out 4 cups of rhubarb juice.
Measure the sugar into a bowl. Whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar to blend. In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the rhubarb juice and the pectin-spiked sugar. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 15-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the volume in the pot is greatly reduced. While you continue to stir, clip a candy thermometer to the pot and watch until the pot reaches 220 degrees F. There will be a great deal of foaming and bubbling before it reaches this point. It should look thick and syrupy and the bubbles should look glossy.
Test the set of the jelly using the saucer test (place a saucer in the freezer when you start – when you think the jam is done, place a drop on the plate and return to the freezer for 1-2 minutes, it should wrinkle when you push on it). If it doesn’t pass, return the pot to the heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes before repeating the test. When the jelly has reached the desired consistency, turn off the heat and fill the jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Screw on the bands and lower into the water. Process in the hot water bath 10 minutes. When time is up, remove from water and cool on the counter. When the jars are cooled, check the seal by pressing on the top of the jar. If there’s no movement, the jar has sealed. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place.
Makes 4 half-pint jars.
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