Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

strawberries and rhubarb

So, I don’t know about you, but I am pret-ty excited about this royal wedding. After watching every single special on television this week (and taping a few others), I feel incredibly knowledgeable about the big day. While most of you out there are completely over all of the hub-bub, I simply can’t wait. I get it. Who are these people? The idea of a monarchy is sooooo 1540. How terribly borrr-ing. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all. My husband likes to mock me constantly over my endless fascination, and now, I think he simply is starting to feel sorry for me. For the past week, he has insulted Prince William’s looks (okay, okay he used to have a better hairline but he absolutely does not look like a horse!) but in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with him that a little whitening gel and Invisalign from Tom Cruise’s dentist couldn’t fix. This has been a nightly argument discussion this week.

strawberries rhubarb cut

Maybe I have an obsession interest in the Royal Wedding business because I lived in London for a semester in college. Or maybe because I am the same age as William and Kate. Or maybe, it is because when I lived in London for a semester in college, I went with my bff Nancy to visit her friend at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. You know, the school where Kate and William met, fell in love—you know the rest of the story. And maybe it is because during this visit, I blabbed on and on about spotting William in town or at the big party we were going to that night. As my friend casually mentions that “Oh yes, I have met him. He is normal. Nice. You know.” O-kay…no. I clearly don’t know. Why would I be asking you all these questions if I knew? Well, as we are casually wandering around town, we decide to return some chairs to a “friend.” As Nance and I sat in the car, chatting about what we were going to wear that night and how cold we were in Scotland (brrr), our friend returned the chairs to said friend. No biggie, right?

Um, wrong! Not only were we sitting in the car outside of William and Kate and some other roomies’ house, but we were completely oblivious until AFTER we had left. What the? Humor us with an introduction, why don’t ya? I mean…I can totally hold it together in front of a royal even though it may not have seemed that way by the one million questions I had been peppering you with all day (No, I do not honestly believe that I could have held it together either). And that my friends, is where this tragic story ends. The day that I came this close to being a princess. It clearly was not meant to be. It turns out that he wasn’t even in town that weekend anyway. Prince William. The one that got away. Sigh. We still had an awesome time at St. Andrews. It turns out those British people really know how to have a good time!

strawberry rhubarb jam

So, I guess I am interested in the Royal Wedding for all the reasons mentioned above, and for the simple fact that I love a fairytale wedding (plus all things royal). Right now, we are 30,000 miles in the air (holla for in-air wifi) , headed to Boerne, Texas via San Antonio for a wedding this weekend. Which I am obviously excited about. Because Plum Pie loves a good wedding (and I am hoping to sneak in some queso somewhere along the way, too! Hooray for tex mex!). And we are staying at the bride’s ranch house tonight. You know, with the families of the bride and groom who I don’t know very well (let me clarify, don’t know very well yet). See, the plan is to convince everyone that a Royal Wedding viewing party is a fantastic idea. I think it might work. It kind of goes with the theme of the weekend, right? Kate and William get married. So do the two of you. It couldn’t be more perfect if you planned it that way. Who needs beauty sleep on their wedding weekend, anyway?

barley strawberry rhubarb scones

But if all else fails, I may be setting my alarm for 5:45 a.m. to saunter out to the tv area in my jams ready to watch the wedding dress reveal all by my lonesome. And that is fine by me. Maybe Andrew the H will feel guilty and humor me with some company?

For those of you who have stuck with me this far, thank you. Now to the food. In honor of the big event, I whipped up some homemade Strawberry Rhubarb jam. For homemade scones, silly. Isn’t it quite British of me, eh? Bloody brilliant!

Look for this delicious scone recipe coming soon. Until then, enjoy the jam.  It’s finally strawberry rhubarb season!

strawberry rhubarb jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain

{Makes about 3 cups of jam}

1 lb strawberries
2 cups rhubarb, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 stalks)
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup (or more) sugar

Put a small plate into the freezer for testing the jam later. Set up an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and about 1 cup water. Set a smaller bowl on the counter next to it. Don’t place the smaller bowl inside the larger bowl yet; condensation will line the inner bowl and water down the jam. Nobody wants that. Put a rubber spatula next to the bowls.

Hull the strawberries, cutting larger berries in half and leaving smaller berries whole.

Measure 1/2 cup water and 2/3 cup sugar (or up to 1 cup depending on how sweet your berries are; more sugar for berries that are not as sweet) into the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy bottomed 5-7 quart pot. You want a heavy pan with high sides because there may be some splattering. Let the mixture sit for a minute to combine.

Bring the sugar and water to a bowl over high flame and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is gently bubbling all across the surface, about 5-7 minutes. At first, the bubbles will be small, boiling rapidly, and clustering around the edges; when the syrup is ready, the bubbles will be about the size of quarters, bubbling slowly and evenly across the surface. Watch carefully!The syrup shouldn’t caramelize. If any color begins to form, swirl the pan and add the fruit immediately.

When the syrup is ready, add the fruit and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. With the heat on medium-high, cook the berries for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the syrup thickens to a jammy consistency. Some of the berries will have broken down and some will still have their shape. All of the rhubarb will break down so don’t worry. Try to keep the heat on high at the beginning. The higher the heat, the fresher the flavor. I’m not sure why but that is what Boyce says and I listen obediently as a jamming novice. Towards the end of the cooking process you may need to turn the heat down a bit to medium.

When the jam is nearly ready, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. The temp of the finished jam should be about 210°F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, it is not the end of the world just eyeball it and try not to let it thicken too too much. When the jam is done, move the pot to a cool burner. Don’t leave it on the burner it has cooked on, even if the flame is off, the residual heat will over cook the jam.

Remove the plate from the freezer . Test the jam by placing a spoonful on the plate. It should thicken promptly when you do so. Turn the plate so the jam runs down it. If it runs slowly then it is ready. Try running your finger through the middle of the jam. You want it to hold it’s shape. This will be roughly the consistency of the cooled product, so cook a bit longer if you like a really thick jam.

When the jam is finished, using potholders, pour the jam into the smaller bowl. Scrape out every bit with the spatula. Set the bowl into the ice bath and stir the jam a few times to allow some of the heat to escape. You now have strawberry rhubarb jam! You did it and it was so easy, right? Cover the jam with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the surface of the jam to keep a skin from forming. Once the jam is completely cooled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Notes: Cooking the jam over high heat is key to its flavor. Stir quickly and continuously to release the steam and thicken the jam. You can add flavorings such as a bit of lemon or lime or even a dash of balsamic when the jam is in the smaller bowl, before it has cooled completely.

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2 thoughts on “Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

  1. Marci

    cute post! vegan is hard when your significant other has no interest, and when you can’t say no to cheese forever. i am on the “eat less meat each week and eat vegetarian more often” plan. it’s not that hard when I really like vegetables and beans/alternative protein.
    congrats on your growth spurt. next year will for sure be even better. hope you don’t shrink!

    Reply
  2. brooke Post author

    It is SO hard. It did make me realize that I eat way too much cheese and yogurt. I could probably give up meat and milk most of the time. Some of the substitutes make me nervous – like nutritional yeast for cheese? I’m not sure about that… Yes, cross your fingers that I don’t shrink!

    Reply

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