I have a confession to make:
I had not eaten rhubarb, in my entire life, until just a few short weeks ago. My best friend on the planet flew out with her little boy to come and visit, and during an excursion to Seattle we grabbed some pastries from a little Russian joint. One was a dessert pastry, filled to the brim with rhubarb. The sharpness, the tart-sweet-ooh what is that of it just killed me.
I was not unfamiliar with rhubarb, I’d heard of it and seen it-I just assumed it was some sort of demonic cousin of celery. My hatred for celery is irrational and ferocious; I will use it when absolutely necessary and that is IT. (Like I said, irrational and ferocious.)
A week later I’d made a rhubarb coffee crumble and tonite I decided I needed jam. Rhubarb jam. I’m not going to pretend my quantities are exact or anything, so think of this as more of a suggestion of how to come upon rhubarb jam in your kitchen some day.
Absolutely Necessary Rhubarb Jam
- 8 impressively large rhubarb stalks (I’d bought about five pounds, all told. Used about half of it for this?)
- 2 cups raw sugar
- 1 3/4 cup water
- zest of the better part of a medium sized lime (Wow, that was specific! Try a good teaspoon and increase to taste.)
- a shot of homemade cinnamon/allspice/clove infused vodka (Try making some! Super easy and the results are worth it. Otherwise simmer your jam with a whole cinnamon stick in it and fish it out before you’re done.)
Combine all that deliciousness in a big saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring and tasting all the while. Too tart? More sugar. Too sweet? Try some lime juice! Got a vanilla pod? Cardamom? Other fruit? Try it out. Just let the jam simmer until all the fruit is broken down. If you’d put in any whole spices while it simmers, take them out now.
Have an immersion blender? FABULOUS. (I have since decided I need one.) Otherwise blend this in batches in a food processor until you don’t have any big blobs of fruit. Transfer to sterilized jars and let it cool on the counter until it has reached room temp or so. Don’t eat it all yet, if you can help yourself. Give it a few hours in the fridge to set and you have got a whole heckuva lot of jam. I filled six half-pint jars to the brim, so I guess the neighbors are getting jam.
Unless I can come up with a large number of things that you can put rhubarb jam on. A really large number. 🙂
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