This strawberry rhubarb jam relies on lemons for pectin, vanilla for loveliness, and a simple technique to make the best small-batch preserves ever in just half an hour.
Those who are fondly familiar with Sarabeth’s strawberry rhubarb jam know well the spectacular sight of those iconic jars lining the shelves at specialty grocers. There’s always an array of flavors, although if you’re anything like us, strawberry rhubarb was always your favorite (closely followed by apricot). You can take comfort knowing that this is her recipe. You’ll be even more tickled to know that not only can you make this strawberry rhubarb preserves at home but it takes a mere half hour to put up a small batch. And unlike most recipes for this summer staple, this one contains lemon slices, rind and all, as well as speckles of vanilla seeds for added intrigue across the board—we’re talking texture, taste, and lord oh lord that intoxicating fragrance.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How To Tell When Jam Is Done
If you’ve yet to make jam, knowing how to tell when a pot of scalding hot fruit that’s burbling like lava is ready to pull from the stovetop may seem a little daunting. But it’s actually ridiculously easy. As recipe tester Linda McElroy, an experienced home preserver, explains, there are a couple ways to ascertain when you can safely pull the preserves from the heat, or, in home preservers’ parlance, to “check the set.” Here are your options:
1. There’s the spoon test. Drag a wooden spoon through the jam. When the spoon parts the preserves like Moses’ staff did the Red Sea and leaves a clean streak on the bottom of the pan, it’s done.
2. There’s also the freezer test. Before you begin to make the jam, place a small plate in your freezer. When you think the jam is ready, allow a very small amount of jam to drop from the spoon onto the chilled plate. If the jam mounds and doesn’t spread (or spreads very little) and you can draw your finger or the spoon through it and leave a clean streak on the plate, the jam is ready.
Special Equipment: 2 sterilized half-pint canning jars
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Makes about 2 half-pint jars
- 8 ounces (227 grams) rhubarb, tough strings removed with a vegetable peeler, stalks cut into 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices (1 1/4 cups)
- 8 ounces (227 grams) strawberries, hulled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick (1 1/3 cups)
- 1/2 Meyer lemon or 1/4 regular lemon (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams), cut into slices 1/8 inch thick and seeded
- 1/4 cup (56 ml) cold water
- 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups (150 to 300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1. In a large nonreactive saucepan, bring the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon, and water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- 2. Stir in the sugar. (It’s best to start with 3/4 cup and then as the mixture simmers, carefully take a taste and, if desired, add more sugar a little at a time.) Using the tip of a sharp knife, split the half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the mixture, and then toss in the pod. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the preserves are thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Skim and discard any foam on the surface. Discard the vanilla pod.
- 3. Divide the jam between 2 sterilized half-pint canning jars. Screw on the lids, let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight to allow the jam to develop its flavors. Use within 2 weeks.
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