August 15, 2013

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

My love of rhubarb is well documented. Every spring I buy as much as I can while it's in season and freeze what I don't use since once the season is over it vanishes from the grocery store shelves.

Imagine my shock when I found a stash of fresh rhubarb in the commissary the other day! Needless to say I bought them out. My husband, bless him, rolled his eyes at my giddiness but didn't call me on it.

I was debating between muffins or cake when I remembered that just last week I was harassing myself to try making freezer jam. It's not the making of the jam that scares me, it's the canning that does. Small batch freezer jam seems so much less  terrifying. So I dug around until I found a small batch of rhubarb jam to try. The resting time is annoying but the actual cooking is so incredibly easy. I threw the ingredients together before I picked the kids up from school yesterday and started cooking after they went to bed. In less than half and hour I had jam. I may have squealed when I tried this. There isn't too much sugar in the recipe, so the tart flavor of rhubarb shines through. Then you get the heat of the ginger and the undertones of vanilla. It's sophisticated and different from our usual strawberry, but the kids devoured it this morning at breakfast so it isn't too weird.

It only made two jars for me, and frankly one of them was half gone before we popped them in the fridge last night. You better believe I'll be running to the commissary tonight to see if they have more rhubarb!

Rhubarb Ginger Jam (small batch)
adapted from Apt 2B Baking Co.
makes 2 mason jars (about 16 oz)

1 lb rhubarb, chopped
2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 inch piece of ginger, grated

Chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and place in bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and let sit for 4 hours on the counter. (Can also be left overnight in the fridge)

After a few hours the rhubarb mixture will have stewed and become juicy. Pour it into a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is breaking down and the mixture begins to set. (You're aiming to get the jam to 220 degrees, but the original recipe cites this wrinkle test, which worked really well for me. ) When it's done, remove the vanilla bean and store in jars. It only made 2 jars so I didn't process it to be shelf stable. Pop it in the fridge or freezer and you'll be good to go.

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