We’ve always thought of “canning” as an end-of-summer activity — something we do over the course of a long weekend, maybe Labor Day — to do exactly what the name implies: preserve the flavor and sweetness of summer’s fruits to take them into the cooler seasons. When winter settles over the land, we can pull from the pantry sparkling jars of jewel-tone jams and jellies to add to long, slow cooked meats or just spread on bread to remind us of the warmth of the summer past.
But we live in southern California.
When “summer” ends, you know, in November, we go into…”summer lite.”
Really though, we should make jam anytime we get our hands on an abundance of gorgeous fruit, Especially with fruit that, even in southern California’s eternal growing season, might have a short window, like rhubarb.
Our friend passed off a test jar of Strawberry Rhubarb jam, which we tried with a piece of bread, then another, then another, until we finally just ate it straight out of the jar with a teaspoon. When we finished it, we realized we had just completely missed the point of “preserving” for later.
Needless to say, we hounded him for the recipe, and got it. It’s printed below.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe
from a class taken at Valerie Confections, Los Angeles
makes 8-12 8 oz jars
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Ingredients
3½ lbs rhubarb
2½ cups sugar
Juice and zest of one meyer lemon
4½ lbs strawberries
3 cups sugar
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Directions:
Wash and sterilize jars for 15 minutes in a 225 degree oven. Wash all fruit thoroughly. Place two small plates into your freezer.
Trim rough edges from the rhubarb. Slice the rhubarb into 1½-2″ segments, then slice the segments into matchsticks. Combine prepared rhubarb with 2½ cups sugar, lemon juice and zest and set aside.
Cut strawberries into uniform pieces and mix with 3 cups of sugar. Set aside.
Mix 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small pot and heat until clear (this is your simple syrup).
Pour rhubarb mix into large pot and turn the heat to high. Keep the fruit moving at a consistent pace until the fruit soften, approximately 10 minutes. Add strawberry mix and continue cooking at high heat. If the jam bubbles up too high to control, lower the heat to medium high.
Check your jam for sugar levels. Add simple syrup in ½ cup increments until it tastes right to you.
After the major bubbling subsides, begin checking the set of the jam by dipping a teaspoon in the jam or placing a small amount of hot jam on a frozen plate. If the hot jam streams off the teaspoon and appears very watery, continue cooking. You want to see the jam cling to the spoon a bit. If you are testing with a frozen plate, run a finger through the jam…does it create a straight line? if yes, you are ready to can.
When jam is ready, remove jars from oven and fill with jam, allowing for 1/2″ of head space. Seal with lid. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath, then remove and allow to sit undisturbed overnight.