It’s funny how our taste buds change so much as we grow. Growing up my parents had a rhubarb patch that I loved to pretend housed mini families under its canopy. But whenever the subject of eating rhubarb came up I ran in the other direction, but not before I gave my mom an “ewh I am not eating that” face. (Sorry, mom!) I’m not even sure I had even tried it, I think I didn’t like the name. As I started becoming interested in eating locally & exploring farmers’ markets, rhubarb was one of the things that I experimented with. And I loved it. Every year since then I make some sort of rhubarb compote or jam for crisps, cobblers, ice cream, or as a side for a spicy dish. Hello, stuffed sweet potatoes!
It’s May and it’s cold & gray. Here in Southern Cali and back on the East Coast where I was this past weekend for wedding and birthday fun. Even though the weather may seem to indicate otherwise, strawberry & rhubarb season is here and I’m back at it in the kitchen with my rhubarb. One of the most common rhubarb marriages is with strawberry. Because rhubarb is as tart as a veggie as they come, the sweetness of strawberries helps level out the flavor and together they go wonderfully.
Neither too sweet nor too tart, this jam goes perfectly as…
…a spread on biscuits.
…a spread on toast with some almond butter.
…an ice cream topping.
…mixed in yogurt.
…a sweet potato topping + almond butter.
…a side to your spicy black beans + kale.
…a cookie sandwich filler.
A note on canning & preserving: I have done a lot of fruit picking and seconds buying so canning became a quick way to save these fruits for a later date. I never owned a proper canning pot, but I did find a funnel & rubber grip tongs helpful and ended up with fewer near misses with hot water. If you decide not to preserve these using canning techniques or if you don’t have a dark, cool basement, store them in the fridge!
Strawberry rhubarb jam
4 c. rhubarb stalks, chopped in 1-2 inch pieces
4 c. hulled & chopped strawberries
1 lemon, juice & zest
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pectin or 2 tbsp. chia seeds
Place all ingredients together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until rhubarb becomes tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fill jam jars using a funnel or large spoon, leaving a bit of space at the top and refrigerate.
Optional canning technique:
Sterilize jam jars by boiling jars & lids in a large pot of water. Use jam tongs with a rubber grip and a dish towel to retrieve from boiling water. Allow to dry.
Fill jam jars leaving about a bit of room at the top. Line a dish towel at the bottom of a large water-filled pot (enough to cover jars) and bring to a simmer. Place jam jars into a pot of simmering water. Simmer jars about 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove from pot and allow to cool. If the lid of the jar does not flex up and down when you push on it, it is air tight. If it gives, store in the fridge. Label, store, and enjoy!