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Showing posts with label easy jam recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy jam recipe. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Best Ever Rhubarb Jam

Smile! You've preserved a bit of your hard-earned labor!

I always secretly laugh at what seems to impress others the most when it comes to kitchen stuff. I guess it makes me feel like I've got a special little secret to keep, when the truth of the matter is that I just happened to be fortunate enough to have learned this over so many years of working in professional kitchens with amazing individuals that have been kind enough to share with me over the years. It brings me joy to be able to do the same for all of you.

Preservation is the next skill that you must acquire to live out your Cottagecore dreams. Many can bake a good sourdough loaf, sure, but pickling your own produce, freezing green beans en masse, and simmering the soft fruits of your labor over a low flame while soft afternoon light streams in your kitchen window are the pieces of stuff that Ghibli film dreams are made of. What's even better is - with the right amount of knowledge and skill, you can make any fruit into jam. No, really! The perfect master recipe for jam - and by 'perfect' I mean it works every single time - is to use this ratio:

60% sugar

Sorry, I'm sure that seemed anticlimactic. It really is just sixty percent sugar to whatever amount of fruit you have, so long as it is measured in the metric system. It's much more accurate this way and you're guaranteed success each time. All you do is weigh the amount of fruit - or vegetable, in this case -  you have and then multiply that by (0.6) to get the amount of sugar you need. This is an exceedingly good thing to know considering you won't always have the option to buy exactly (X) amount of any rhubarb at any given moment. I think it's much better to have an understanding of mathematical ratios for this so you can adjust it at any given moment.

Let's say you have 500 grams of raspberries. 

500 * 0.6 = 300. 

Or let's say you have 738 g of currants? 

738 * 0.6 = 422.8 

In this case, it's better to round up to the nearest whole number. The amount of sugar you would need would be 423 grams. 

Finally, if you have 525 grams of chopped and cleaned rhubarb, like I did, you would only need 315 grams of plain white sugar to make the jam. You can add a pinch of salt to whatever you do, of course, but it's all to your taste. I always add a pinch of salt to everything I make, especially for something like this.

No matter the amount of fruit and sugar, the idea with this application is that you want to draw out as much moisture as possible. In a perfect world, you would chop or crush any fruit you have and toss it in the sugar, cover it with clingfilm, then leave it - at room temperature - overnight. You would naturally give it the occasional stir, if possible, but it isn't absolutely necessary. One thing that is necessary to your canning success is a good candy thermometer. 

I prefer this kind, as I've had one in my drawer since before I met my husband and it has yet to fail me!

With a candy thermometer, all you have to do is stick it on the side of your pan and wait until your jam simmers enough to have reached the magical 220 Degrees F, which is the perfect temperature for jam. There are a couple of tricks to getting the right consistency without a thermometer, but I say "why be half-safe when betting on saving and savoring a whole seasons' worth of work and growing?" Don't. 

As I mentioned in my Spiced Rhubarb Pie recipe, rhubarb grows in the fall as well as in the spring. The kind I have now is not the pretty red I usually get in the spring, but it's just as tasty so I don't really mind the green color. To tell you the truth, I think it's a little funny to surprise people with a visual trick of green jam and having it end up being sweet, tart, and oh so delicious. 

Best (and Easiest) Rhubarb Jam
yields 2 small jars

  • 525 g rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
  • 315 g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
As mentioned before with the method above, the best practice is to clean and chop the rhubarb into small dices and toss with the sugar and salt before covering and leaving it overnight. I put mine in a saucepot to sit, just because it was one less dish I had to clean, and left it for an hour on the counter. Since I was making this for a cake that I needed today, I saw no problem in rushing the process a little. 

When ready, begin cooking on a low flame, stirring often, until you hear little bubbles singing around the edges of the pot. Scrape the bottom and edges with either a wooden spoon or a spatula to ensure that no bits of sugar crystalize on the sides. Rhubarb smells a bit vegetal, according to my husband, when it cooks so don't worry too much about it if you're sensitive to that sort of thing. 

Fit your thermometer to the side of the pot and allow the jam to cook, low and slow, until the mixture reaches the magical 220 degrees F. Don't forget to stir occasionally! The rhubarb will shred and lose all of its original shape and turn this greenish hue. I realize that it's not as appealing as your usual red, but don't let the color fool you. Looks can be deceiving, which is why it's of great importance to label your jam jars when you pop this in the fridge.

When ready, turn off the heat and stir well once more. Pour into your prepared jars. If you're curious about canning and prepping jars, give this blog a quick skim and see if it answers any questions for you! You don't have to waterbath can these jars, as it can go straight into the fridge for up to 3 months without turning. If you do decide to process the jars, however, they'll keep for up to a year in the pantry.

I used this jam to fill a lemon cake for my baby's Isang Buwan party, which is a small celebration to mark that they are now one month old. Next month, I'll make another small cake, and another the month after that. I'll make a small cake or pie or some sweet something every month until their first birthday party, which will be a BIG bash!

I love using jams as fillings for cakes, as I often dislike buttercream as a general rule. It's not that buttercream is bad, necessarily, it's just that - by and large - it tends to be oversweet and I always seem to have the curse of making either too much or too little. I also think it can be a big mess, so when I make a cake for myself I tend to make a jam, curd, or ganache to fill it and a fondant style glaze to cover it, and then finish with candies or sprinkles, usually whatever I have in the cupboard does just fine. 

I hope you save this master recipe and refer to it as you need, or at least write down the ratio on a sticky note and then keep it somewhere on the inside door of one of your cabinets. When you know how to preserve your food that you've spent so long and so much effort growing, it makes a world of difference when it comes to the satisfaction of your eating experience...and you'll impress your friends by making them think you have your stuff together when you casually mention that you made the jam yourself when offering them a slice of cake, toast, whatever! 

Thanks so much for spending a piece of your day with me. Happy cooking and happy eating!