Rhubarb’s the Word

It took weeks of absorbing recipe after recipe for rhurbarb-centric dishes and a near surfeit of oozy, jammy pink photos of the cooked stuff before I realized that there was probably something to this pieplant.  My first foray was Smitten Kitchen’s rhubarb snacking cake, a wonderful recipe that I bungled with an overzealous application of yogurt, thinking the batter was too thick (really it had been just thick enough). The end product was a bottom layer of gummy cake topped with an addictive swath of rhubarb and crumble. A swath that was easily salvageable with a spoon and consumed warm straight from the pan.

So for the next attempt, I kept it simple. Food in Jars provided the recipe this time around, and with a few minor alterations, we’ve got jewel-like vessels of tart and sweet rhubarb and strawberry jam with rosemary.  The rosemary is an inspired idea (not mine, all kudos goes to Food in Jars). It offsets the sweetness in a really nice way, and gives the jam a hard-to-pin-down depth.  For any fellow novice rhubarb cookers out there, please give it a try, and may your first try be this jam.  The prep is a breeze, it all goes into one pot, and your kitchen will smell like a wholesome candy store. Plus, you’ll get to say you just made homemade jam. Respect.

The jam is ethereal on goat’s milk yogurt (take a second to admire the dollop of bright pink on creamy white before you dive in), or not-too-sweet ice cream, or toast, or slathered on an elevated and very adult PB&J.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam with Rosemary
(Slightly altered from Food in Jars)

Approx. 4 cups chopped rhubarb (slice into 1/2 inch chunks, at an angle)
Approx. 2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups sugar
2 large sprigs of rosemary
Juice and zest from 2 lemons

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large enamel or stainless steel pot (rhubarb’s acidity can react with certain types of metal).  Stir so that the sugar coats everything evenly and let it sit for 30-45 minutes, until juices have started to pool. Place pot on medium-high heat, add the rosemary sprigs, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and separates easily when pressed with a spoon, about 10 minutes.  Raise the heat and boil for about two minutes while stirring, then remove from heat.

Add the lemon zest and stir to combine. Remove the rosemary fronds.

Once the jam is slightly cooled, pour into as many containers as needed and seal. Someday I’ll learn how to can, but for this small batch my intention is to eat and share what we can’t eat until the entirety is gone.  So I give it about a week in the fridge.

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