Finally the first stalks of rhubarb have appeared here in New York. They are very slender and barely pink, but after a long cold winter, I'll take them. This week I went on a bit of a binge, baking up two crisps and make a big batch of this jam with strawberries, honey, cinnamon, and lemon zest.
The key to perfect rhubarb jam is to simmer the chopped stalks just until they begin to break down. This ensures that every bit of jam is infused with tart rhubarb flavor and that there are no tough, fibrous chunks. Then stir in the rest of the fruit, sweetener, and any other ingredients (zest, spices, etc.).
I kept this recipe simple, but you could experiment by replacing the water used to simmer the rhubarb with wine (a rosé would be particularly nice), or swapping orange zest and juice for the lemon. Or swap the cinnamon stick for a split vanilla bean.
The tart flavors of this jam make it a perfect compliment to sweet breads, cakes, and other desserts. Try it spooned over vanilla ice cream or swirled into rice pudding.
- Yield:Makes 5 cups, or 5 half-pint jars
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:1 hour, 15 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin
- 4 cups diced rhubarb
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- Zest and juice from one lemon
- 4 teaspoons calcium water (included in the Pomona's box)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup honey
Whisk the sugar and pectin a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine the rhubarb and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer just until the rhubarb breaks down, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should have 2 cups.
Measure the stewed rhubarb. You should have about 2 cups. Return the rhubarb and the pureed strawberries to the saucepan. Add lemon zest and juice, calcium water, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sugar-pectin mixture and the honey and return the fruit mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute.
Remove the pot from the heat and skim any foam from the surface of the jam with a cold metal spoon. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars and process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.