Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

I cracked open the last jar of guava jam from last year and realized I needed to do some canning.  While I'm not a huge jam person, I am a scone person and like toppings on hand at all times should the urge to whip up a batch strike.  Jam on matzoh is also pretty good, if I don't feel like baking for tea time.

Blackberries were on sale, but not exactly what I had in mind.  Then I saw some fresh rhubarb and decided to put the two together.  Rhubarb blends well with berries of all kinds, as they both have that sour and tangy undertone.

As for the debate over whether rhubarb is a fruit or vegetable, botanically it's a veggie.  It is classified as a fruit because it is so sour that everyone adds lots of sugar to it and treats it like a fruit.  The debate always makes me think of the song "Veggie-Veggie, Fruit-Fruit" from Epcot's Kitchen Kabaret that closed many years ago.

I use a lot of lemon juice in my canning because I get the lemons off the tree instead of using bottled juice like you're supposed to for consistent acidity.  I'm sure my canned goods are safe, but I put in a little extra insurance.  At the very least, it keeps the colors bright for months.  If you're using juice out of the lemon, go with the 3 Tb in the recipe.  From a bottle or not canning, you can do 1 Tb and add the other two as water, if you even need it.

1/2 lb rhubarb
6 oz blackberries
3/4 C sugar
3 Tb lemon juice

1.  Cut the rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise, then 1/4" cuts (like celery for tuna salad).  Slice the blackberries in half through the core.  Place the fruits, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until boiling.  If canning, start setting up a water bath and jars for a 1 pt yield.
2.  Stir jam periodically as it approaches a boil.  It will be giving off a lot of liquid to distribute.  You also don't want to scorch the sugar before it dissolves.  After a few minutes at a low boil, you will see a little scummy foam.  Skim that off with a spoon to reveal the jewel-like jam below.  Continue to boil until everything has broken down and the rhubarb fibers have separated, at least 30 minutes.  Skim off foam as necessary.

3.  Once jam is cooked and thickening, either portion into jars and process in a water bath for 12 minutes or cool in an open container in the fridge and use within a week or two.

makes about 1 pint

Difficulty rating  π  (maybe :) if you're canning)

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