From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a spread that will not be to everyone's liking. It has a drab color and the predominant flavor of this sweet and tart jam is rhubarb. While I don't particularly like it on bagels or for breakfast toast, I think it makes a terrific quick appetizer when spread with cream cheese on freshly sliced baguettes. It also makes a wonderful sweet-tart glaze for sauteed or grilled chicken or pork. The recipe below requires canning equipment. While I sometimes make this spread for pantry storage, I usually bypass the water bath and simply refrigerate the jam in clean storage containers. I think those of you who like sweet-tart flavors will really enjoy this jam. If you like heat, I suggest you add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the jam before storing it. If you fully process the jam, it will keep for a year on your pantry shelves. If you choose not to process it, the jam will keep for about a month in the refrigerator. I think those of you who appreciate spreads that are not to sweet will really enjoy this. Here's the recipe.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Sasha Chapman and Saveur magazine
5 cups rhubarb (about 1-1⁄4 pounds), cut into 3⁄4 x 1⁄2-inch cubes
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries (about 1⁄2 pound)
2 1⁄4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1) Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a 4-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb breaks down and jam has thickened, about 1 hour. To determine whether jam has set, place a small spoonful on a chilled plate; if the dollop of jam holds firm and doesn't get runny around edges, it is ready for canning. If it runs, continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, submerge three 1-cup canning jars, along with their lids and ring bands, in a large pot of boiling water and sterilize over high heat for 10 minutes. Transfer sterilized jars, lids, and bands to a clean dish towel. Fill each jar with hot jam, leaving at least 1⁄4" of space at the top. Wipe jar rims with a clean dish towel, place lids on jars, and secure ring bands.
3) Transfer filled jars to a canning rack; place rack in a pot of gently boiling water so that jars are submerged by at least 1"; let boil for 10 minutes. Transfer jars, set at least 1" apart, to a dish towel and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. To test that jars have properly sealed, unscrew bands and lift each jar by the edge of the lid; if the lid holds, the jar is sealed. If it loosens, jar is not fully sealed, and jam should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. Sealed jars will keep, in a cool, dark place, for up to a year. Yield: 3 cups.
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