Posts Tagged ‘homemade jam’

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

May 19, 2017

As I heaved yet another heavy load of weeds from my community garden plot, Elizabeth stopped by to say hello. She noticed the lush rhubarb plant in the front corner and asked if I’d tried Rachel’s rhubarb and ginger jam. ‘It’s lovely with a bit of aged cheddar; I’ll send the recipe,” she added and set my mind whirling. I’ve poached, stewed and roasted rhubarb. Baked it into pies, tarts, muffins and braised it with meats for Persian Khoresh. My sister sent a similar rhubarb ginger jam recipe a few years ago but then I had only the old fashioned green pie plant so my jam wasn’t rosy. Now that I have this healthy clump of red rhubarb, it was time to revisit the jam.

Rhubarb may be one of our most ancient cultivated perennial vegetables, though we use it as a fruit. It’s thought to have originated in Siberia and has long played a major role in traditional Chinese medicine. As we learn more about natural plant healing properties, rhubarb offers benefits for our bones, eyes and brains; it’s claimed to fight cancer, memory loss and tummy troubles At its very best right now, pick rhubarb for a healthy, delicious treat.

A fruit conserve goes nicely with cheese for dessert or a course on it’s own. The quince paste, membrillo, is trendy while in winter, little fig and almond cakes with fennel add that holiday touch of sweetness. This tart rhubarb jam fills in at any time and the punch of ginger makes it a perfect complement for crumbly cheddar, soft goat cheese or creamy Brie. It’s equally good on toast or biscuits or baked into pastry for jam tarts. If your rhubarb plant needs stalks pulled to prevent bolting and to keep it going through the summer, now’s the time to put up a few jars of jam. This small batch recipe will take only a few minutes to prep and about 15 minutes to cook, so in very little time, you’ll have something special to enjoy now or hold for later.

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

 16 oz. sliced rhubarb (4 cups)

15 oz. sugar (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)

tiny pinch salt

4 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger (use microplane)

grated rind ½ lemon

2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger (optional)

Remove leaves and end bits from rhubarb and weight 16 oz. clean stalks. Cut into ½ inch slices.

Cover cut rhubarb with sugar; add pinch salt, grated ginger, lemon rind and lemon juice. Mix well and allow to stand an hour or overnight until the juices start to run. Bring the mixture to a slow boil stirring occasionally. Increase heat and continue a steady boil, stirring occasionally, for approximately 15 minutes or until the mixture is jam thick. (test by watching jam drop thickly from a spoon, or place a blob on a small, ice cold saucer to check for the set.)

Have ready 2-3 sterilized jam jars and lids heating in a small pot of simmering water. Ladle the hot jam into the hot jars, wipe any drips from the jar rims and tightly pop on the lids.,Jam should seal as it cools. If you are uncertain of a seal, store in the fridge. Makes about 2 ½ cups jam





Strawberry Jam

July 1, 2011

My grandmother always had jelly on the dinner table. For special occasions she served it in a gold-trimmed, ruffled-edged porcelain dish with a flat-bowled silver jelly spoon. We had soft Parker House rolls to butter and embellish with quivering slices of black raspberry jelly.

Summertime saw jelly bags hanging from cupboard doorknobs and dripping dark purple juice. Wide pots boiled that juice with sugar to a shimmering set. Ladled into squat jars, topped with melted paraffin and capped with brass-colored lids, the jelly awaited its summons from darkened basement shelves.

Now fruit is scarcer, time is shorter and jam is my choice of preserve. It takes less sugar, less time and uses the entire fruit. The simple, quick process makes me wonder why anyone is content with saccharine-tasting commercial jams gooey with high fructose corn syrup and stiffened with pectin. A couple boxes of berries, several soft peaches or the golden plums from your farmers’ market will give you a jam to make the smallest breakfast seem like a memorable feast. The basic procedure for strawberry jam will work for most fruits. Tarter fruits with higher natural pectin content, such as plums, apples, blackberries or raspberries, don’t need the lemon juice.

Strawberry Jam

1 lb. fresh (or frozen) strawberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

12 oz. sugar  (1 ¾ cups)

Cap and slice the berries into a medium, heavy stainless steel or enameled iron pot. Mash with a potato masher, add lemon juice, cover and cook gently until the berries soften and pulp. Stir in the sugar and boil quickly, stirring often for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile heat two or three clean jam jars and their twist-on or cap lids in a pan of simmering water.

With a little experience you will know what the jam looks like when it is ready. Lift the stirring spoon from the mixture and let the contents fall gently back into the pot. When the jam slides off the spoon in a sheet rather than dripping off in separate drops, it is ready. You can also test it by spooning a few drops onto an ice-cold saucer to check thickness when pushed with a finger. Boil the jam a few minutes longer if necessary. If the jam foams as it boils, stir in a sliver of unsalted butter to disperse foam before jarring.

Cool the jam a few minutes before ladling into hot jars leaving a half-inch for the vacuum seal. Wipe the top of the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel and twist on the hot lids or caps.

This hot-pack seal should keep the jam for several weeks. For longer storage, it’s advisable to simmer the jam jars in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes.

      Mary Jo’s cookbook is available at