Posts Tagged ‘rhubarb’
It’s still rhubarb season, and it turns out my housemate loves rhubarb jam. So we made a plan last week to put up some jam, adding ginger and lemon juice to make it even more tangy. We planted rhubarb in the garden last year, so we can harvest the stems this season. (read more about rhubarb, an amazing perennial plant)
I haven’t made jam since middle school, and even then it was freezer jam, not the jam you put into glass jars and boil. We don’t have room in our freezer for plastic containers of jam (Glenda is still annoyed by the roasted beets still in the freezer from last fall), and I also want to learn how to can so I can put up the surpluses of tomatoes, cucumbers and peaches I expect this year. A major goal of our 3rd CSA year is to waste no food.
So, anyway, a few quick web searches for rhubarb ginger jam uncovered a lot of available recipes, but I went with this one, found on the barefoot kitchen witch site. She has a lot of photos that are quite handy.
However, I did alter the recipe some, and the instructions are sort of hard to follow on her post, so I’m recreating it here for all our benefit.
Ginger Rhubarb Lemon Jam
2 lbs (or 8 cups) chopped rhubarb
2 cups sugar or comparable sweetener
1/3 cup minced or shredded (fresh) ginger
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
juice of 2 small lemons (a little less than 1/4 cup, I think)
1 T lemon zest
Wash and trim rhubarb and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. (The rhubarb will give enough water to keep it from sticking)
Cook, stirring ocassionally, for 20 – 25 minutes on medium heat until the mixture reaches 218 -220 degrees (F). (Add pectin if necessary) Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. At this point, jam can be stored in sterilized canning jars or canned in a hot water bath (more canning guidelines below)
Adding pectin: Pectin, a compound extracted from plants like citrus, is a gelling agent added to jams, jellies and desserts to stablize foods. It’s what makes jams jelly. Pectin is available in most grocery stores, and yesterday I found a pectin product that is activated by calcium instead of sugar, therefore allowing you to add as little or as much sweeter as you desire. We didn’t want the jam to be too sweet, so we started the recipe with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and added the additional 1/2 cup after it had simmered a bit. (it was mouth puckering tart)
To test whether you should add pectin, float a small metal bowl in a larger bowl or basin that’s filled with cold water. Drop a small amount of the jam into the metal bowl; the cold water it’s sitting in will cool the jam quickly. Swipe a finger through the jam; if it retains most of its own shape and doesn’t run together, you probably don’t need to add pectin. This was true in our case, but since I hate runny jam, I added about half the amount of recommended pectin at the end. (read your pectin instructions for details, and don’t be afraid to add it at the end – just be sure to boil it at least 2 minutes after adding it.)
For canning instructions and lessons learned, click on “continue reading” below.
Yield: We filled two 12-oz jars with jam, and had an additional 1/2 cup leftover that we threw into the fridge. I am definitely getting some 6 oz jars for the next batch of jam; it’ll be easier to share them with friends and family.
I licked the pot when we were finished, because the concoction was delightful. Hope yours is lovely!
This week’s boxes looked fairly similar to last week’s, except for the awesome additions of garlic scapes (the tops they snip off to help the bulbs grow), collard greens, and fresh basil.
In the last two weeks, we’ve gotten a few handfuls of rhubarb. My grandmother grew rhubarb and we planted some in our garden last year, but I’ve never quite tackled the problem of exactly what to do with rhubarb. Or collard greens, for that matter. So last night for dinner, we cooked up the collards first and then made a delicious strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert.
But first, did you know that rhubarb is one of the earliest spring vegetables to be ready to eat? And that, although the leaves are toxic, the stems and roots have been eaten for thousands of years? Also, rhubarb stalks are pink, red, white and green, although red are the most commonly seen in grocery stores? Read more about rhubarb on wikipedia.
Here’s a very easy recipe I found for vegetarian collard greens. My housemate added bragg’s amino acids instead of salt, but between that and the miso, it was a tad on the too-salty side. But still, the collards were tender and flavorful.
Vegetarian Collard Greens
2 lbs collard greens
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1. Wash greens well, submerging in a sink full of cold water to remove any dirt and grit. Drain well. Cut off the stems right where the leaf starts. Stack about 5-8 leaves on top of each other, then roll lengthwise. Cut rolled up leaves into 1″ slices width-wise. Repeat until all the greens are done, and add to a large pot. (note: I’m not sure how this was actually done at my house, but the strips were WAY too long. I recommend cutting them in half widthwise before chopping them in this way)
2. Add all other ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes or until greens are extremely tender. Serve hot, using a slotted spoon to drain the liquid from the greens.
And, finally, Rhubarb! I found this recipe online, and slightly modified it; my altered recipe is below. It’s so exciting that we also used strawberries out of our own garden.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
Zest of one lemon
1/2 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.
additional notes: Be prepared; the filling sticks to the pan. I’m not sure how to remedy this problem just yet, but it might include more butter. Also, I reduced the sugar from the original recipe because we wanted to retain the tartness of the rhubarb without being overly sweet. Also, we live at 5,300 ft elevation, and I always adjust the oven temperature to -25 degrees from any baking recipe. I don’t make any other adjustments, and the temp shift seems to work great.
Today, we’re attempting to make lemon rhubarb ginger jam. I’ll let you all know how it went.
Enjoy your farm fresh veggies!