When I was trying to figure out what should be the inaugural canning recipe posted here for the 1000 Jar Project, I knew it was going to be something strawberry-related.
Strawberries are the first cannable produce to come off in our area, and it’s normally the first time I pull out my canner for the year. I canned a number of wonderful strawberry recipes this year, but none of them hold a candle to the Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam recipe directly from the pages of the canning bible—the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
This strawberry-rhubarb jam is pretty much life-changing. It’s sweet, tangy, fruity. I know some people love the smooth, clear results you get with making jelly, but this jam is packed full of rhubarb chunks and strawberry pieces. I love that you can actually see the fruit when you spread it onto an English muffin. This strawberry-rhubarb jam makes my breakfast happy. This jam is my jam (yup, I went there).
I mentioned in my Canning 101 post how important it is to follow a tested canning recipe when you’re first starting out. Once you know the rules, you can learn to develop recipes on your own, but for your first go, to guarantee success, you’ll want to try out a recipe that’s been used in home kitchens for decades. And the canning experts at Ball are the place to go for these recipes.
Ball posts many of their recipes on their website for free, but I highly recommend picking up a copy of the Blue Book to have as a reference. If you know someone who cans food, I can almost guarantee they have a copy of this book in their kitchen (and it’s probably lovingly stained with jam and pickle juice!). I love the Blue Book because it isn’t overwhelming, but it’s comprehensive.
You can find a recipe and a how-to for pretty much everything you’d ever want to make in here. And, best of all, it’s totally affordable. The paperback is available around here for less than $10 a copy (and you can pick it up at just about every grocery and hardware store this time of year)! And if you can’t find it in store, you can order it online for just a few bucks more. Not too shabby!
I love the Blue Book for tried-and-true canning recipes (like this one for Strawberry-Rhubarb jam), but it’s also a wonderful resource for all kinds of home preserving. They’ve expanded the most recent edition to include fun ways to use dried and frozen foods, as well as how to can foods you may have never thought of doing before. Like say, blueberry-basil vinegar, anyone?
Or, Blueberry Focaccia? Can you tell blueberries are starting to come off here? I promise to move onto blueberry (and black raspberry—those are coming off too) recipes once I get through my backlog of strawberry tastiness. Having too much fresh food to develop recipes with is a wonderful problem to have!
Once you get your hands on your copy of the Blue Book (ahem, check below, there may or may not be an opportunity to win your own copy—spoiler alert—THERE IS), flip to page 55 to learn all about how to make this Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam. Strawberry Jam of any kind is a great starter jam because it gives you the opportunity to learn how to work with pectin.
Pectin sounds complicated, but it’s a breeze to use (it’s just a powder that you stir into the fruit to help it thicken and gel). It’s also all-natural—it’s a compound that already exists in most fruits, but strawberries need a little help to get thick enough to become jam. I promise you won’t mess it up! And the results will be delicious.
I’ve talked a lot about strawberries lately, but haven’t done a lot of talking about rhubarb! We grow our own rhubarb (are you surprised?) and just freeze it in 1-inch chunks as it comes off. That way, when it’s time to make a cobbler or jam, we just measure out what we need and are good to go.
If you don’t grow your own (you should, it’s super easy to grow, beautiful, and comes back year after year), you can pick it up around this time of year at most farmer’s markets. I’ve even seen some of the larger super markets in our area carrying rhubarb. If all else fails, check the frozen fruit section. Even our dinky small-town grocery store carries frozen rhubarb—but it ain’t cheap! Like with everything else food-wise, your best bet is to snag some from a local farmer. Enjoy!
Want more recipes like this one? Check out these favorites!
- How to Freeze Strawberries. My favorite jam making hack is to freeze berries while they are in season, and then use the frozen fruit for jam in the winter, when I’m not scrambling to put up loads of produce every week, and I don’t mind having my stove on for hours at a time.
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