Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves

Lately I've been making a concerted effort to eat foods that I haven't tried before, with mostly good results. While I simply confirmed that I do indeed hate olives, even fancy Kalamata ones, I also learned that I love rhubarb. I made a cardamom rhubarb version of the East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch and was pleasantly surprised by the bright, tart flavor of the rhubarb (but, did anyone else find the topping of the coffee cake too flour-y?). Since then, it's been like rhubarbapalooza 'round these parts.

Come to find out, though, rhubarb is pricey. As usual, I just grabbed a handful of rhubarb, walked up to the checkout, and nearly had a heart attack when it rang up for $10. All my visions of cheap jam--a staple of Josh's diet--flew out the window. However I proceeded unabated and tackled the making and canning of my preserves. Unfortunately, I followed the Ball recipe for the first one, which called for 4 cups of fruit and 5 1/2 cups of sugar. Needless to say, visions of diabetes danced in my head with my first taste. Way to sweet for my taste and the sugar completely obscured the taste of the rhubarb. So, I gave those jars of strawberry flavored sugar to the kids next door and adjusted the recipe. After some tinkering and finding a whole bag of rhubarb for $1 in the eat-this today-at-your-own-risk bin at the natural foods store, I now have 10 pints of delicious rhubarby preserves which cost me about $14 to make.
Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves
makes 4 pints

4 cups diced strawberries
4 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 tsp. calcium water
6 tsp. pectin (calcium water and pectin are Pomona brand and are sold together)
4 1/2 cups sugar

Sterilize 4 pint jars and the lids (unlike me, remember to put jars in the water before you start to heat it up). Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring fruit, lemon juice, and calcium water to a boil over medium-high heat. As the strawberries start to get juicy, use the back of a wooden spoon to crush them. Next, mix the pectin into the sugar. Once the fruit is boiling, add the sugar mixture. Stir constantly until fruit/sugar mixture comes to a boil and let boil for 1-2 minutes. Don't stop stirring unless you hate your pot and are looking for an excuse to buy a new one (there's no better excuse than burned fruit/sugar). Don't worry about the fact that the preserves look to liquidy to firm up. They will.

Next remove sterilized jars from water one at a time and fill a quarter of an inch from the top. Adjust lids until finger tight and put back in the boiling water. Process for 10 minutes. Remove and let sit undisturbed overnight. By morning, you'll have perfect strawberry rhubarb preserves for toast, muffins, or--if you're anything like Vegan Patty--straight out of the jar.


Georgie said...

I have a great rhubarb crisp recipe if you're interested. I added some strawberries last time because they were around but the crisp is just fine, IMO, with nothing but rhubarb.

I guess your next adventures will be in growing your own fruits/veggies? When I lived in VT we grew our own rhubarb. I bet you could make a go of it in CO.

veganboyjosh said...

My new favorite food, this stuff.

Cannot recommend highly enough.

Ondine said...

I love rhubarb with or without strawberries. My favorite thing is just a plain rhubarb conserve (not really a jam, but more like stewed rhubarb) and I'd suggest you try it. It's good on toast or yogurt or just by itself.

Cut rhubarb into small chunks. Put in pot with a bit of sugar (however much you want--I do very little, like 1/4 cup, to ensure tartness) and a bit of butter (a couple Tbsp). Heat on medium until it breaks down and hits an almost puree-like consistency. It will be pink and delicious.