I was at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and saw a huge display of strawberries and rhubarb, which reminded me that my boyfriend requested that I make strawberry rhubarb pie. I guess I am a good girlfriend because I made a strawberry rhubarb sweet treat, but on the other hand I took some creative liberty because I made jam instead of pie! Good thing he loved this recipe! I saw a recipe for blackberry jam on Primal Palate and all I could think of was making jam. On the bright side he can dole out the strawberry rhubarb goodness a little longer by having this jam.
Rather than using packaged pectin, I used apples because they are a natural source of pectin and helped cut the tartness of the rhubarb. One concern I had was that this mixture was going to turn out like apple butter or apple sauce, but I saw a post about apple jam on Farm to Table where the apples were cooked down and were softly gelled. This jam also is soft set, so if you want a really firm jam you can add packaged pectin.
Maple sugar is a less processed sweetener and contains more minerals that white table sugar. Plus it adds a richer flavor than plain old sugar. The flavor of this jam reminded me of Fruit Rolls Ups, but sophisticated. Sweet-tart strawberries and rhubarb contrast the caramel notes of the maple sugar. Though the obvious choice to put this jam on a muffin or toast, but I think it would provide amazing contrast to room temperature brie!
If you are nervous about canning jam, don’t be. This was the first time I’d ever made jam, and it turned out perfectly! I had only canned one other time when I made picante sauce last year. I just made sure to sterilize the jars, lids, and rings by submerging them in a big boiling (not a rolling boil) pan of water. The jam needs to be bubbling when you ladle it into the jars. A jam funnel can help, but I used a small ladle. Wipe the rim with a clean towel, and working quickly, add the lid and the ring. Immediately turn the jar upside down. For any jars that don’t seal, put them in the refrigerator. If the lid flexes in the middle, you’ll know it didn’t seal. Work one jar at a time to make sure everything is hot while you process it. Of course, jars can vary based on brand so be sure to read your label.
Maple Sugar-Sweetened Strawberry Rhubarb Apple Jam
1 lb hulled strawberries*
1/2 lb diced rhubarb*
1 lb peeled, cored, and diced apples*
1 1/2 cup water
6 oz pure maple sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: Enough jam jars to hold 5 cups of jam, lids, and rings. I used 5 one-cup jars.
1. Slice strawberries and rhubarb. Toss with half of the sugar and set aside to macerate in the refrigerator for one hour.
2. In a large saucepan, add the apples and 1 cup of water and simmer, covered, 30 min. The apples should be soft enough to mash with a potato masher to the consistency of applesauce
3. Add strawberries with their juice, rhubarb, remaining water and remaining sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until the berries and rhubarb are soft, approximately 15 minutes
4. Mash the mixture with a potato masher and add lemon juice. Continue cooking over medium to medium-high heat or until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Additionally, jam thickness can be tested by putting a small spoonful on a cold plate and allowing it to set.
5. Scoop any foam off the surface of the jam. Working on jar at a time, ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Tap each jar lightly to remove air bubbles; add more jam if necessary. Wipe the rim, add lid and tighten to fingertip-tight. Turn jars upside down to seal. Alternatively, follow the instructions for your jam jars, or cool the jam completely and store in the pantry or refrigerator. If any jars don’t seal properly, store them in the refrigerator.
Makes enough to fill five 8-oz jam jars
*Note: Weights were taken after trimming the produce of cores, skins, leaves, etc…
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