Saturday, May 10, 2014

Strawberry-Rhubarb jam - Sweet and tart

Use this delicious jam as a filling for crepes and tarts, add it to oatmeal or yogurt or spread it on toast for a tasty breakfast!

Strawberries and rhubarb are in season in this period so why not using them to create a delicious jam which will be just perfect for winter? The flavor combination is very balanced, while strawberries are sweet and succulent, rhubarb is tart and tangy. Paired together in a beautiful jam, they taste delightful and refreshing! 

Use this delicious jam as a filling for crepes and tarts, add it to oatmeal or yogurt or spread it on toast for a tasty breakfast!

Rhubarb is a perennial plant, considered an early sign of spring. For culinary purposes, only fresh raw stalks are being used, because the rhubarb leaves are toxic. The color of the stalks can vary from deep red to light pink or simply green. However, the color is not related to its cooking sustainability. The red stalks are the most common due to their enhanced flavor and tartness.

Use this delicious jam as a filling for crepes and tarts, add it to oatmeal or yogurt or spread it on toast for a tasty breakfast!

This recipe doesn't involve adding any preservatives. It is based sole on the natural setting properties of the strawberries and rhubarb enhanced by sugar and fresh lemon juice. Also, I prefer jams that taste fresh and aren't overly sweet so the amount of sugar added is less than in other recipes.

Use this delicious jam as a filling for crepes and tarts, add it to oatmeal or yogurt or spread it on toast for a tasty breakfast!

Use this delicious jam as a filling for crepes and tarts, add it to oatmeal or yogurt or spread it on toast for a tasty breakfast!

Yield: 5 jars of 470 ml (16 oz)                       Time: 3 hours 

Ingredients:
  • 2 kg (4 lbs.) fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 kg (2 lbs.) fresh rhubarb stalks, diced
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 kg (5 cups) sugar
Directions:
  1. Place rhubarb, strawberries, lemon and 2 cups of sugar in a large pot and mix thoroughly. Allow the juices to develop for 30 minutes.
  2. Set the pot over low heat and as soon as the sugar melts and the fruits start to become soft, add the rest of the sugar, one cup a time, stirring after each one, until melted. 
  3. After all the sugar has been incorporated, cook the jam over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 hours, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface.
Jam setting tests

There are different tests that you can do to detect if the jam is set:
  1. The plate test: at the beginning of cooking (or even before) place 2-3 plates in your freezer. When you believe the jam is cooked, take one of the frozen plate and place a small spoonful of the jam on it. Return to the freezer for two minutes. Remove the plate from the freezer and push through the jam with your finger, there should be a slight film on top that wrinkles as you push. If it’s not ready yet, boil it for a few more minutes and repeat the test.
  2. The temperature test: the jam reaches its ideal set point at 104°C (220°F).
  3. The drop test: dip a wooden spoon into the jam and hold above the pot and let the jam run off. If the last drops of jam run off together in more of a sheet or like a thick syrup, your jam is done.
Canning instructions: 
  1. While jam is cooking, wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Place the jars on a cooking tray, making sure the jars are not touching each other. Close the oven door and sterilize the jars for 30 minutes.
  3. Using thick oven mitts, remove each jar from the oven as needed onto a heatproof mat or heat pad, making sure you fill while the jam or preserve is hot as is the jar.
  4. Wipe the rims and outside, clean of any drips. Place the lids on top of the jars and screw on the rings until fingertip tight.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a soft boil and add the filled jam jars making sure the water is 1-2 inches above the top of the jars and that the jars aren’t touching. Boil them for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the jars from water bath and set on a tick kitchen towel and cover them with a blanket to cool for 24 hours. 
  7. Check the seals before storing in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Do not add hot jam to cold jars or vice versa, otherwise the jar will shatter. 
  • Always choose the widest pot you have at your disposal that also has enough height to let the jam boil vigorously. More surface area means faster evaporation.

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