Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sweet/Tart

I believe my love of rhubarb is well documented here. I first encountered it when I was already an adult, so I’ve had to make up for a lot of lost time. I can rarely pass it up when I see it for sale, and it’s unparalleled as a conversation starter in the checkout line. If you, like me, have a salt/tart tooth (as opposed to a sweet tooth) and you haven’t tried rhubarb, don’t waste any more of your life missing out on it.

I was fortunate enough to find an early batch in the midst of preparing a selection of homemade jams to stockpile for Easter brunch. I debated about pairing it up with something else—either its most famous partner, strawberry, or my more recent discovery, apple—but in the end I decided to let it stand alone.

Rhubarb jam
I based this recipe, as usual, on Dinner with Julie’s simple formula for jam without a recipe, using the higher ratio of sugar to compensate for rhubarb’s characteristic tartness. This allowed the flavor of the rhubarb to shine through without being overpoweringly puckery.

4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat and stir to combine thoroughly. Continue stirring regularly while mixture comes to a boil; mash chunks of rhubarb with a potato masher or similar as they start to soften, to assist with breaking up and make the finished jam a more consistent texture. When mixture boils, lower heat as necessary and continue cooking until it has reduced and is starting to look like jam. (There are various tests you can use – thermometers, saucers in the freezer, and so on – but when I can draw a line across the bottom of the pan and see it for more than a few seconds, I shut the heat off.)

When it has cooled a bit, spoon into jars and refrigerate for immediate use. To can, follow the usual method and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

This amount made 2 half-pint jars of jam with a bit left over.

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