I was walking through the grocery store the other day and noticed they had some fresh strawberries from one of the local farms. Must be the last of the season, but boy were they nice and red and beautiful. I picked up some rhubarb from my sister-in-law at the beginning of the summer and froze it to be used later. Well it’s later and some lovely Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam was made the last two evenings after work. I will tell you that it was a sauna in my kitchen. There is no air conditioning in our house. Most of the time there is no need, but this is a hotter than usual summer for us. Not that I’m complaining, only when I have to make jam. No pretty pictures of the process. The process is pretty much the same for any jam making venture. But here’s the final result. You can just taste the tartness of the rhubarb, the strawberry flavor isn’t overwhelming either, it’s just right.
You just need some very basic tools. You don’t have to run out and buy all the canning equipment. When I made my first batch of jam a few years ago I didn’t have anything special like I do now. All you need is a very large pot, large enough to hold your jars of jam and leave about an inch or so covered with water when immersed. If you can find a small basket or rack to fit in the pot, even better. I happened to use my collapsible steamer basket. A soup ladle and a pair of tongs. Oh and of course the jam jars with lids, make sure you use brand new flat lids, the screw on rings can be reused over and over again. Just wash and sanitize the rings with your jars. I run them through the dishwasher just before I plan on making the jam. You can also heat your pot of water to boiling, immerse the empty jars and rings and boil for a minute. Pull them out and let air dry. Now you are ready to start the jam.
Make sure you have a second large pot for the fruit. I like a nice deep pot because the fruit has to come to a rolling boil and you will get spattered. Hot fruit hurts! Have towels or cookie racks set up so you can put the hot jars on them and off of your countertops or table. Have a damp dishcloth available to wipe the jar rims before you put the lids on.
Ok, I think you’re ready to make your jam! Oh, and I like to really crush the heck out of my strawberries before cooking them. I don’t like big chunks of strawberries, I like to spread jam on my entire piece of toast. Enjoy!
4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries and 1-1/2 lb. fully ripe rhubarb–you want 2 1/4 cup strawberries and 1 3/4 cup rhubarb)
1/2 cup water
1 box Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
6 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl make it
BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
REMOVE stems from strawberries; discard stems. Crush strawberries thoroughly. Measure exactly 2-1/4 cups prepared strawberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Finely chop unpeeled rhubarb. Place in medium saucepan. Stir in water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 2 min. or until rhubarb is tender. Measure exactly 1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb into saucepot with strawberries; mix well.
STIR pectin into prepared fruit mixture in saucepot. Add butter; stir. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
About 7 (1-cup) jars