This past weekend I made my very first batch of Pectin-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. Who knew making jam could be so easy? I researched a few recipes online and what I was most shocked to see was the amount of sugar all of these recipes called for. I knew the recipe would need some sugar but I felt 6 cups of sugar is WAY too much. Fruit is sweet enough in my opinion and although rhubarb is a bit tart I did not see a reason for that much sweetener. So needless to say, I created my own jam recipe and cut back on the sugar. I think this jam has the perfect amount of sweetness.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to have made my first batch of jam. I want to scream it from the Rocky Mountain tops! Hah! Let me explain. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of moving to the country and making jam. I remember how this dream was born as if it were yesterday. I was about 10 years old, sitting on the couch in my childhood home watching a new comedy that had just been released on VHS. Yup, I said VHS. For those young readers, these were the clunky rectangular tapes (or Video Home Systems) that we used to watch movies on before there were DVD’s. I feel so old.
Anyway, the movie was Baby Boom staring Diane Keaton (circa 1987). Those of you who are unfamiliar with this film it is about a busy executive woman who inherits a toddler from a cousin who had passed away. This woman eventually gives in to all the new challenges that come along with a child, leaves her busy life in the city and moves to Vermont. She begins making her own gourmet baby food and, once again, becomes a successful woman selling her “Country Baby” food. She falls in love with her new life, who she has become and her adopted daughter. It’s a sweet story.
I remember thinking as I sat in our living room, “One day, I am going to move to the country and make my own jam.” Babies and baby food certainly were not on my mind at that age. Who knew I would actually be doing it! I too, love what I do, where I live and adore my boy more than words could express. I find it funny I haven’t thought about this childhood dream until the moment I tasted this delicious jam. All of a sudden my heart became warm and filled with this loving and comfortable feeling. A feeling that things are all good. Like a hug. It was that same feeling I had when I first had this dream. Life is pretty cool like that.
This recipe yields 4 4-ounce jars.
2 1/2 c rhubarb, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 1/2 c strawberries, quartered
1/2 c organic sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Place the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan. Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. The sugar will draw the moisture out of the vegetable and you will have a bit of liquid in the pot. Next add the strawberries and lemon. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-high for 20-25 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning. The mixture will soften and thicken.
Pour jam into 4 sterile 4-ounce mason jars and place the lids on. Once the jam is cool place in the refrigerator it will last up to 2-3 months. Note: I did not properly seal these jars because the jam will be used within 3 months.
*If you prefer to make a large quantity you can follow these canning technique from Ball. When properly preserved the jam will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool dry place.