It feels like it’s been forever since I made a post, because it is partially the truth of the situation. The past three weeks (well, month, really) have been mighty busy around these here parts. There were academic projects to be completed, a third diploma to be received (wahoo!), jobs to be sought, and much garden work to be done. Of course, nothing ever goes off without a hitch, especially in the growing department. We got a late start on seed trays due to circumstances beyond my control at the farm, and are just now in the midst of finalizing our planting schedule for the remainder of the planting season. But the risk of frost has definitely passed by now and many of the seedlings, including those tender summertime favorites, are starting to make their way into those lovely beds we’ve worked so hard to build up in the past several weeks. Even more, the use of those Google docs I’ve talked about has already shown to be a critical tool in coordinating garden chores between myself and the education staff this season. But really, Learning Garden updates account for an entirely separate blog post, one that I hope to have up before the end of the work week.
So here we are, in that glorious part of the year where spring meets summer. Shorts-n-skirts-but-sweaters-in-tow kinda weather. The beginning of cool crop harvests like radishes, salad greens, and spring onions. The return of all-things rhubarb. And the official start of canning season in my apartment.
I decided when drafting out my 2012 preservation plan that I wanted to only dehydrate rhubarb this year. But when I brought home a nice, big armful of rhubarb I harvested from Waltham Fields, my eyes met my canner, abandoned much like this blog but for far longer; it was in that moment I decided jam was to be made with this particular harvest.
The following recipe makes for a small batch of dee-lish jam. Rhubarb takes center stage but is enhanced with a touch of lemon. The simplicity of the recipe makes it a great first-round canning project, especially if you have any little ones to help with the chopping.
Makes about 6 half-pints
- 3 lbs rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 scant cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 lemon
After your fruit has been prepped as indicated above, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water, lemon juice, spent halves (with 1/8″ of the blossom and stem ends removed), and seeds in a large non-reactive bowl; set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Pour the contents of the bowl into a large, non-reactive pot; as you are spooning the fruit in the pot, set aside the lemon seeds and tie them up in a small cheesecloth bag. Add this bag to the pot and bring the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes. Skim foam from the surface of the jam as necessary.
Drop the heat to medium and hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking often to ensure the jam isn’t scorching on the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if the jam is set by placing a small spoonful on a plate that has been in the freezer for at least an hour; the jam is set when it holds its shape on the cool plate. If it seems too loose, continue cooking it over medium-low heat until it’s set.
Remove the seed bag and spent lemon halves. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace. Process in a hot water bath canner for 5 minutes if using half-pint or pint jars. Store in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to one year.
Recipe slightly adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.