Luckily, by the time you're an adult and you realize that peanut butter and jelly might as well be a dessert, there's no one to stop you from putting a sweet, sticky sandwich at the heart of your midday meal. Furthermore, you're now old enough to make your own rhubarb jelly, which makes this childhood staple special enough to share with guests.
Probably due to user error, my jelly remained rather liquid, even after the addition of pectin and a night in the refrigerator; it was more like a compote, which was fine as long as the sandwiches were eaten quickly, but my dreams of taking them on a springtime picnic are not to be realized.
My other caveat is that the jelly is quite sweet. This doesn't bother me at all, but those of you who appreciate restraint with sugar will not find it here. We've been eating leftover jelly stirred into plain yogurt and morning oatmeal for a delicious break from honey and maple syrup. The source book, 'wichcraft, suggests Pullman bread for the sandwich—but for an ever so slightly wheatier flavor (and to honor my childhood bread choices), I liked it on a honey whole wheat.
- 4 cups trimmed, diced rhubarb
- 2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon powdered pectin
In a bowl, combine the rhubarb, 2 cups of the sugar, and lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight in a tightly covered container.
The next day, bring the rhubarb-sugar mixture to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine the pectin and remaining teaspoon sugar and temper it by adding small amounts of the hot rhubarb mixture and quickly stirring it in. Add this to the rest of the rhubarb, return the saucepan to the stove, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean container with a lid. Once it has cooled down, close the lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.