It might seem like this is a post about making homemade strawberry rhubarb jam. And, while this IS a post about making strawberry rhubarb jam, it’s also a post about how I channeled my dearly-departed Grandma Mary. See, Grandma Mary was the maker-of-all-things-sweet in my family. She made an ok hotdish (yes, we’re from Minnesota – see here and here for more on the great hotdish vs. casserole debate), but her baked goods and jams were fantastic. In fact, since Grandma Mary passed away, it’s not uncommon for members of my family to exchange panicked calls because we can’t quite replicate Grandma’s recipes.
Well, panic no more family, because I’m pretty sure I replicated Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb jam recipe. It. Is. YUMMY.
I found the recipe at AllRecipes.com (found here) and pretty much followed it. In the true spirit of Grandma Mary, my measurements weren’t very exact and I didn’t totally follow the directions. I also only made half the recipe, which made figuring out the amounts a bit challenging for me since math really isn’t my thing. Without further ado:
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam:
*This recipe makes 12 half-pint jars.
4 1/4 cups diced rhubarb
4/1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 (1.75 oz) packages powdered fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter (optional, but kinda necessary really)
10 cups white sugar (yeah, it’s not exactly health food)
12 half-pint canning jars with lids & rings
First, dice and slice your rhubarb and strawberries:
Then, according to the recipe, you should sterilize your jars in a hot water bath canner. Honestly, I just ran mine through the dishwasher. The recipe also says to place a small plate and 3 spoons in the freezer to test jam down the road, but I didn’t do this either. Lastly put your flat lids in a heat proof bowl for later when we process the jars (confession: didn’t do this either).
Place your rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 C water in a preserving pan, or stainless steel pot. 6-8 quarts in size should do. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for about 10-15 minutes. The liquid from the fruit should just about cover the tops of your fruit in the pan.
Pour into a colander set over a large heat proof bowl and drain the juices. Give a few stirs with your spatula to make sure as much of the liquid is out as possible. Return the juice to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reduces to about 1 1/2 cups. This should take about 20 minutes or so.
Return your drained fruit, and any remaining juices to the pan, along with your fresh squeezed lemon juice, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes, or until a small dab of the jam spooned onto your chilled plate becomes relatively firm. Skim off as much foam as you can, then remove from the heat and stir gently for a few minutes to distribute the fruit amongst the jam evenly.
Fill each hot jar with the hot jam leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ideally, use a canning funnel. I only had a regular funnel, but it worked. Slide a knife into the jam jars to make sure you don’t have any large air pockets/bubbles. Wipe the rims of your jars with a warm kitchen towel (or papertowel) to remove any goopy jam that may have gotten onto it, and place your flat lids atop the jars.
Screw your band onto the jar until just finger tight and return to the hot water bath canner. Process at a full boil for 5 minutes then return to your kitchen towel, and let sit for at least 12 hours. To check and make sure your seals took, press down on the top of your jars.
If the top cannot be pushed down further, it has sealed; if not, refrigerate and eat within a few weeks.
I shared the jam with family and friends, so it didn’t last long at my house. I was able to freeze LOTS of rhubarb, so I’m sure I’ll make it again this summer! It was great, and so satisfying to make something so yummy that reminds me of my Grandma!