I'm typing fast here as I can feel the rhubarb and strawberries slipping away. There are thousands of strawberry rhubarb jams out there and I never thought I'd be one to add to the morass, but this is so easy to make and the taste rewards are manifold.
I'm getting braver, really I am. Thanks to Mrs. Wheelbarrow, the queen of canning, and her calm guidance at canning events, I know I could have processed this jam and had strawberry rhubarb jam year round. But it was such a small batch that I knew we'd go through it quickly enough that I could just put it in the refrigerator. So I did. And so you can too! This type of jam, especially on this small scale need not intimidate. In fact, it's so easy that it's a shame not to do it when the fruit is at its peak.
I saw some rhubarb and strawberries at the farm stand on Saturday and quickly decided to go for one last batch. I'd canned several different combinations of rhubarb products at a DC food52 rhubarb canning event hosted by Cathy Barrow, aka Mrs. Wheelbarrow, a couple of weeks ago (pickle, chutney, preserves) so I guess I was feeling bold. But the recipe I located called for 2 pounds of strawberries and I was just shy of one. When I couldn't find any more on Sunday morning, I adapted the recipe to fit what I had - an almost even amount of rhubarb and strawberries.
This smaller batch size was actually perfect for refrigerator jam, as it yielded about 2 pints which I put into 1 pint jar and 2 half pint jars. The jars you use do not need to be canning jars, as you won't be processing them. However, you'll want them really clean so run them through the dishwasher and turn them upside down on a clean paper towel or dish towel to drain. Then dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.
I added a little sprig of the lemon verbena I have growing in my garden which I've seen Cathy do to add a little different type of lemony flavor. And, I added crystallized ginger, in part because I love the zingy taste of ginger, and in part, because I thought that the little extra sweetener on the ginger would be fine in this not-too-sweet recipe.
This is a lovely jam, not too tart, and not too sweet. I have had it on toast and plan to serve it with some brioche French toast tomorrow morning. I'm also looking forward to trying a couple of spoonfuls into my morning yogurt as well.
If you move quickly, you might still find some rhubarb and berries around. You don't need much!
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam
(adapted from localkitchenblog.com)
makes approximately two pints
1 pound rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed and cut into about 1/2 inch slices. With really fat stalks, halve lengthwise, then make your horizontal cuts.
2/3 cup water
1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into half or quarters depending on size. I keep the really tiny ones whole. These are really nice to find in your jam
1 1/3 cups sugar (I generally use natural cane sugar, but white is perfectly fine)
juice and zest of one lemon
1 sprig lemon verbena, about 6 inches long (if you have one growing - otherwise omit! I admit to growing this just for this jam!)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger bits, cut if they are not the pellet type
1. Place rhubarb pieces and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and reduce to a simmer. Let the rhubarb simmer for about 15 minutes until it softens. Mix occasionally.
2. Add the strawberries, lemon juice and zest, sugar, salt, and lemon verbena and bring it back to a boil, and lower to medium heat to let it bubble lightly for about 5 minutes then add the ginger.
3. Let it bubble about another 15 minutes, mixing occasionally, or until the jam thickens enough that when you drag your spoon through the mix, you can see the bottom of the pot, briefly, as the spoon pulls through.
4. When thick enough, turn off the heat under the pan and skim off any foam on top and remove the lemon verbena.
5. Let the jam cool for about five minutes in the pot, then fill your cleaned jars. Wipe the outside of the jars with a clean, damp cloth to remove drips. Let cool for an hour or so and refrigerate.
6. Keep refrigerated between uses!