So the recipe I’m writing up today is for a lovely strawberry and rhubarb jam that I made last week. If you are like me and love strawberry jam but feel like it’s a waste using all those lovely fresh berries to turn into jam, this recipe will help you to let go of that notion. Using half strawberry and half rhubarb you manage to stretch the strawberry flavour that little bit further and it adds a lovely acidity to the mix too. Even better if you have a rampant rhubarb plant growing in your back yard like we do!
I’ve given this jam a little citrus hit in place of the usual vanilla paring. It results in a beautifully fresh flavoured jam. Because strawberries are not naturally high in pectin (needed to set jams), the addition of lemon zest and juice also helps the setting process along. I like my jams to have a soft spoonable set, so I remove it from the heat the second a trail is left on the plate when tested, but if you prefer a firmer set simply boil for longer or use a sugar like Chelsea’s jam setting sugar (it contains citric acid and pectin). As I’ve mentioned before, most homegrown rhubarb tends to be more green than red. But in a recipe like this you’d never notice as the berry colour really dominates.
strawberry + rhubarb jam recipe
I used unrefined cane sugar, but use which ever sugar you like.
Makes 4-5 small jars.
2 heaped cups (300g) strawberries, hulled and chopped in half if large
2 cups (230g) rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces
3 1/2 cups (700g) raw sugar
The finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Pop a plate into the fridge or freezer to test for setting later. Place the fruit, sugar, zest and juice into a large preserving pot. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Cook rapidly, stirring often to prevent sticking. After 10 minutes start testing jam for setting. To do this, remove the plate from the fridge, drop a teaspoonful of jam onto it. Run your finger through the centre of the jam. If the trail remains in the jam your jam will set on cooling. If it runs into the centre and forms one blob again, return to the heat and cook for a further few minutes before testing again. Once setting point has been reached remove the pot from the heat, skim any foam off the top (or if you eat butter you can add a little knob of this to the jam, mix it in to help break up the foam- a tip from my Nana!) and set aside for 5-10 minutes. This ensures the fruit is evenly dispersed through the jam and doesn’t all float to the top. Pour into sterilised jars*, screw on the lids and set aside to cool. Store jam in a cool dark place and refrigerate once opened.
* To sterilise jars, clean them in hot soapy water, rinse and place into 120 C/248 F oven for 30 minutes. Stand lids in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilise.
Adapted from a recipe featured in the 2010 New Zealand Gardener garden diary.