Rhubarb Berry Jam Recipe

Thursday, June 16, 2011

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Every year around this time, I find myself feeling out of the loop and a bit frustrated.  It seems like all the other food bloggers are surrounded by a bounty of fresh rhubarb and are proudly flaunting their mouthwatering rhubarb creations, while I remain pathetically rhubarb-less.    I’m not sure why, but I rarely ever find fresh  rhubarb in my local markets.   And, the once in a while that I do stumble upon some, it’s always just a few sad, little, washed out stalks that, honestly, I’d be embarrassed to put in my shopping cart.  So imagine my near delirium when I was placing my weekly order with SunCoast Organics and saw that rhubarb was on the list.  I ordered two pounds.  Squeeeeee!

In anticipation of receiving my booty, I scoured the above mentioned bloggers’ sites for some rhubarb inspiration.  Since I have very little experience with the this reedy Rheum rhabarbarum, I wanted to explore its possibilities.  I also wanted to choose a recipe that would give me the most bang for my buck, as I didn’t know when I would find it again (and also because it was $5.00 a pound).   All of the rhubarb pies, tarts and galettes looked tempting, but short-lived.  A few bites, and they’re gone.  Yes people, pastry is fleeting, but jam, on the other hand, is forever – or at least a lot more long lasting.  So, I decided to turn my rhubarb into a jam that could be spread on hot, fresh bread, added to chutneys and morphed into an assortment of luscious baked goods.

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Although used more frequently in desserts, rhubarb is actually a vegetable.  On their own, the fibrous stalks are quite sour, with a sharp bite.  Think of a very tart stalk of celery and you’ll get the idea.  But, cook it with sugar and various fruits, and it is transformed.  The most popular rhubarb pairing is with strawberries, as in strawberry rhubarb pie.  I thought about making a strawberry rhubarb jam, but that was too predictable for me.  Dare to be different, I always say!  Okay, I actually don’t always say that, but I do think it sometimes.  and, this was one of those times.  Besides, my market had a multitude of other berries on sale, so I grabbed some juicy, ripe blackberries and raspberries along with the strawberries and went home to make jam.

I found several yummy looking rhubarb berry jam recipes online, and adapted a few to come up with one that worked for me.  Though I’m pretty much a jam-making novice, I find the whole process to be pretty easy.  My apple butter experiment a few months ago was a great success.  And, once before that, I made the most marvelous raspberry jam completely by accident when a batch of pate de fruit didn’t set up properly.   All you really need are some good ingredients, canning jars and time.

To start, you need to prep your rhubarb.  I peeled all of the woody, outside parts off and sliced mine into small pieces.

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Then, rinse and drain the fresh berries.  You can use frozen berries if you want.  I never have, so I can’t tell you much about that.

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After that, it’s time to cook all that rhubarb and fruit down with lots of sugar until it becomes a thick, rich, intensely flavored jam.  David Lebovitz uses apple juice instead of commercial pectin products to thicken his jams, as apples contain a high concentration of natural pectin.  Since I forgot to buy pectin and had some apple juice in my fridge, I went with that.

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It took about forty-five minutes for my rhubarb and berries to become jam.  All I did was let them bubble on the stove until they were a thick, pulpy puree.

While the jam was cooking, jelling and cooling, I whipped up a batch of my favorite English muffin bread to go with it.  Just look at all those nooks and crannies!  Sooooo good!

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Honestly, this was probably one of the best jams I have ever tasted.  I am completely besotted with it!  It was so rich and lush!  The combination of berries gave it a deep, dark, sweet flavor, and the rhubarb added just the perfect amount of tartness.  My family absolutely loved it, as did the select few I chose to share it with.  And I must say, I was pretty stingy with the sharing.

I decided not to process my jam in a water bath because I wasn’t making a huge amount and I knew it would be scarfed down consumed pretty quickly.  The jam should keep well in the fridge for at least a month.   I kept a few pints for us to spread on toast, croissants, etc., and  the rest was turned into some scrumptious rhubarb-berry crumble bars and a smoky, spicy chutney.

If you would like to preserve your jam, I’ve given some basic directions here.  The USDA also has an excellent guide to home canning, which is where I got my information.

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So let me tell you people, if you’ve never made homemade jam, you’re really missing out.  Aside from the fact that homemade jam tastes out of this world, the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself feels so great.  And, most folks don’t realize how easy jam is to make, so all of your friends and family will think you’re a regular Martha Stewart when you gift them with a jar (if you can bear to part with any).

As for me?  I’m so thrilled that I finally got my grubby little pars on that beautiful, fresh rhubarb!  Now, I can hold my head up high again in the food blogosphere.  I am a rhubarb outcast no longer.  My life is complete!

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9 responses to Rhubarb Berry Jam Recipe

  1. On June 16, 2011 at 12:35pm, Rosa said...

    That combination is terrific! What awesome flavors, wow.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. On June 16, 2011 at 1:17pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    *giggle* I can’t work with rhubarb pie my kitchen. I’d laugh too much!

    I like that you branched out and tried some new berries in the jam. Strawberry-rhubarb is so done to death!

    Now excuse me while I go roflmao!

  3. On June 16, 2011 at 2:52pm, SP said...

    Nice looking jam! I’ve heard rhubarb does better in cool climates – my mother lives in Southern California and laments the lack of good rhubarb there, while we have it by the boatload in Pennsylvania.

  4. On June 16, 2011 at 4:04pm, patsy said...

    I made jam for the first time last year and am anxiously awaiting the farmer’s markets to open here (this weekend!) so I can get going with some new combinations this summer! I love the sound of this jam, my husband adores strawberry-rhubarb pie, so I’m sure he will love this jam!

  5. On June 16, 2011 at 7:41pm, Phyllis Kirigin said...

    A cook after my own heart. Yep, I love rhubarb, too. It’s amazing how easy it is to make jam. Apricot jam is a winner, too. I use a combination of fresh apricots and chopped dried. A little complementary liqueur at the end doesn’t hurt either. I love your process photos. I’m struggling with cooking and shooting at the same time. Well, back to the caldron . . .

  6. On March 02, 2012 at 10:25pm, Stephanie M said...

    I don’t know where you live, but Rhubarb is a perennial, and here in ND it survives the winter.
    So if you go buy yourself a Rhubarb plant or 2, you can have all that fabulous awesome Rhubarb growing in your own backyard, yes, even in town. The key/trick is to ignore it, it prefers to get the cold shoulder from you, and in return will produce LOTS of delicious yummy rhubarb!!!

    Love your recipe!
    We have lots of rhubarb and oh my yum!! I have to freeze lots of it to use in Muffins all winter long, yes, so sad. heehee!!

  7. On August 07, 2012 at 9:37am, Ivy Rowland said...

    I am encourage to find your Berry and rhubard jam recipe on line. Just a shame that your measurements are in ‘cups’. I am from Great Britain so find your measurements a bit hard to follow. And we get lots of rhubard here though I can’t grow them in our garden. We use to be able to grow them in our old house. Oh Well. I just have to buy them from the supermarket instead. Your pictures looked great too.

  8. On October 15, 2013 at 4:59pm, Magic and Mayhem said...

    Looks and sounds delicious. I love homemade jellies and jams. Store stuff is so sad by comparison. :) It’s bizarre to me to read that you buy rhubarb, since here in MN we all either have a plant or have plenty of neighbors happy to give it away. When we bought our house, it had no edible landscaping at all. Over the years we’ve planted rhubarb, raspberries, black raspberries, Nanking (false) cherry bushes, a cherry tree, asparagus, strawberries, chocolate mint and many more perennial plants, trees and bushes that look nice and also give us tasty food. I’ve pinned this recipe to my “cooking from the garden” board for next year. Can’t wait to try it!
    ~Alicia

  9. On July 30, 2014 at 5:01am, Hermes Birkin Bag Buy Ukulele said...

    Rhubarb Berry Jam Recipe | Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy | A Blog About Food with a Little Life Stirred In Kelly Bag By Hermes Price

1 pings to Rhubarb Berry Jam Recipe

  1. On June 28, 2011 at 4:22pm, Sticky Fingers pinged...

    [...] Mixed berry and rhubarb jam [...]

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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