The first preserves of the season!

We were in Door County this past weekend, staying at the cabin that was my great-great-grandparents homestead many years ago. At some point in the past 100 years, someone planted a rhubarb plant behind one of the outbuildings, and it’s become quite a behemoth. Being that my tiny rhubarb plant needs to be left alone for a year to establish itself, I took advantage of the bumper crop and harvested 4 pounds of thick, beautiful stalks.

Rhubarb is typically paired with strawberries, but being that strawberries aren’t really in season, I decided to do something different. I found a great recipe for rhubarb ginger jam. Having used Christopher Kimball recipes in the past, I know they usually don’t fail me, and besides, the combination of flavors sounded amazing.

Last night, I chopped up two pounds of stalks and whipped up a batch of the jam to can.

It was sort of an exciting rite of passage to haul out my water bath canner and all my equipment for the first time this year. My siblings and I gifted my dad with a pressure canner for Christmas, which I would like to try my hand at. However, this recipe for jam had enough acidity and sugar in it that a water bath was fine for preserving it. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few years when it comes to water bath canning, so be sure to check back in!

Some notes on the recipe:

  • I also subbed vanilla extract for beans because I didn’t have vanilla beans on hand. I think the flavor is great, but I’m sure the vanilla beans would take it up another notch.
  • I never got the temperature up past 205 degrees. I think I simmered the mix for 20-25 minutes, and the consistency seemed right so I called it good.
  • I did add a little bit of pectin at the end – not even 1/4 of a box.
  • The blogger that I borrowed the recipe from ended up with 3 cups of jam instead of the six that the recipes is supposed to yield. I ended up with 4.5 cups, or four and a half small jam jars worth. I canned the four full jars and put the half jar in the fridge for us to eat this weekend.

This recipe is out of this world! The flavor is super complex – tart from the rhubarb, rich and sweet from the vanilla, and slightly spicy from the fresh ginger. We’re going to put it on our crepes this weekend and I’m fully anticipating a party in my mouth. Make it. You won’t be sorry!

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One Comment to “The first preserves of the season!”

  1. Sounds awesome. I’ll pick up some rhubarb from the market and make a batch this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

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