In episode 37, Kathy discusses how to make homemade rhubarb jam.
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Find the complete recipe for Rhubarb Jam.
In this episode you'll learn:
- How to make rhubarb jam
- About rhubarb leaves
- The different colors of rhubarb
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Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Pantry. I'm glad you're here again with me as I share another great recipe. Today I'm going to be sharing my method for making rhubarb jam.
Now Rhubarb is one of those amazing plants that I totally love for a couple of different reasons. First, it's the very first plant that pops up as soon as the snow is gone, and it's the first plant that we can harvest every year.
Where I live, that's not usually right away. It's usually towards, oh, I don't know, the end of April or May, but I know that it starts popping up in warmer areas sooner than that.
Another reason I love rhubarb is the tart taste. I really love that tart taste, and when I was a kid, I loved to visit my grandma and take a stock of rhubarb from the garden and just eat it whole without any sugar, just plain.
It was sour. It was very tart. I can't remember if I ate more than a few bites of the stalks of rhubarb. I think it was almost a challenge to see who could actually eat the rhubarb. I loved it though. It was great, and I still love rhubarb, but I can't say that I eat it raw anymore. I like it most when it's cooked up into different recipes.
There's a couple of things you need to know about rhubarb. The first thing is that only the stalks of rhubarb are edible. The leaves are actually toxic. When I harvest rhubarb, I don't even bring the leaves into the house. I cut them off right there in the garden, discard them, and only bring the stalk into the house.
The other thing is that the color of rhubarb varies. Rhubarb all has red and green, but the amount of red on and green on rhubarb seems to really vary. The plants that I have in my garden are more on the green with a little bit of red, and when I cook with that rhubarb, it tastes great, but the color is a little drab looking.
It's a, a kind of a dull brownish. The plants that my mother-in-law grows are more red than green, and when I use those, the recipes turn out a much deeper, darker red color than the recipes that I make with my own rhubarb. If you look at the pictures that I've captured for my rhubarb jam, that was using my mother-in-law's rhubarb.
Now the taste will be exactly the same regardless of the rhubarb that you use. But sometimes presentation matters. So if you don't like the color of yours, if you can get your hand on rhubarb from somebody else. If you don't have rhubarb and you know somebody that does have rhubarb, oftentimes they're willing to share it with you.
But it's also one of the easiest plants to divide and transplant and start your own. So if you've got a good neighbor or friend who wants to share, it's an easy way to get a plant in your own garden. Alright, let's talk about rhubarb jam. So this recipe just makes a small batch, just two cups of jam. So it's one that I make and just use right away in store in my refrigerator.
You can easily double or triple this recipe if you want to can and preserve your jam to make it shelf stable. For this recipe, we start with six cups of rhubarb and it's just chopped. I take the stalks and I just cut them into maybe half inch pieces. Rhubarb is a little bit stringy and sometimes a string will come off as you're chopping it.
I just pull those off and discard the strings. Otherwise, I don't worry about it. They're all going to break down once you get this cooked. So six cups of rhubarb, two cups of sugar, and a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and that's it.
Here's the process. You're going to place the rhubarb in a large glass bowl, add the sugar and stir to mix that.
You're going to cover it and let it rest for at least eight hours, and you want to stir that every oh, probably once or, or twice. During that time, what's happening is the sugar is causing the rhubarb to release all of its juices and start to break down, and it's then it's also dissolving the sugar. So you want to make sure that you stir that every once in a while just in case.
There's some areas where the sugar hasn't dissolve. After those eight hours, you're going to add the rhubarb and all of those juices into a non-reactive pot. I use like a big stainless steel pot. You don't want an aluminum pot for this. You're going to place the rhubarb in all the juices in the pot, add your lemon juice, and then you're going to cook it over medium high until it comes to a simmer.
Then you'll reduce it to low and continue cooking until it has set up or reached the gelling stage and you want to stir this often and to avoid any sort of burning or scorching.
Now to tell if it's reached the gel stage for rhubarb Jam in most jams, I prefer using the plate method, so I have a small plate I'll put in the refrigerator.
When I feel like my jam is getting ready, I will take a scoopful, just a small amount, and put it on the plate and just wait a minute and then take the back of your wooden spoon and just draw a line straight through. ,You can tilt your plate slightly and the mixture should only run a small amount. If it really seems to run, and that line that you drew disappears, it needs a few more minutes.
Otherwise, your jam is done. You can remove it from the heat, let it cool for just a few minutes, and then transfer to a jar. Once it's cool, you can refrigerate it. Of course, it can be used as soon as it's cool enough to eat. Now if you want to make this jam so that you are going to be processing it in a water bath can, as soon as it has reached the gel stage, you will add the jam to your canning jars, leaving a quarter inch of head space.
So that's the amount of space from the top of the jam to the top of your jar. Wipe down your rims and add a lid in a ring, and then place your jars in a water bath. We process for 10 minutes. However, you will need to add additional time depending on your elevation. And then once that processing time is done, remove your jars and set them on a cooling rack.
Let those jars just sit without touching or testing them for 12 to 24 hours until they are fully cool. Then you're going to take off the rings, test the lid to make sure it's sealed. I like to wash off the outside of my jars to remove any sticky residue that might be there. And then I label and date the jars and storm in my pantry.
And that's it. This rhubarb jam is really delicious, and if you've never had it before, give it a try. The complete recipe for this jam and all of my recipes can be found on the blog, and I will include a direct link in the show notes page so that you can go straight there to get the recipe. Next week I'm going to be talking about more recipes with rhubarb and how I freeze rhubarb, so make sure you tune in again.
I'll see you then. Bye.
Thanks for listen. And be sure to tune in again next week for more episodes of Preserving the Pantry.