This strawberry rhubarb jam is incredibly easy compared to most homemade jams. It 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. You’re definitely going to want to make this—and don’t forget to keep a stash in the freezer.
Those familiar with Sarabeth’s strawberry rhubarb jam know well the spectacular sight of those iconic and familiar jars on shelves at specialty grocers. And while there’s always an array of flavors, if you’re anything like us, strawberry rhubarb has always your favorite. (Perhaps closely followed by apricot.) And now you can take comfort knowing that you can make Sarabeth’s very own recipe at home. You’ll be even more tickled to know that it takes a mere half hour to put up a small batch that boasts not just a superbly satiating taste and texture but lord, oh lord, a fragrance that’s intoxicating beyond words. And it’s a small enough batch that there’s no need to process it for canning; instead you can simply toss it in the fridge with the knowing that it’ll easily disappear before it can possibly go bad. How easy is that?! Originally published July 11, 2016.–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.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Makes about 2 half-pint jars
Special Equipment: 2 sterilized half-pint canning jars
- 8 ounces rhubarb, tough strings removed with a vegetable peeler, stalks cut into 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices (1 1/4 cups)
- 8 ounces 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 cold water
- 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups 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 flavor. Keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.