Fresh Rhubarb Jam

Marla is an old high school friend who enjoys to cook and offers her culinary voice as a guest on Social // Potato Chips!

Aloha everyone!  I’m Marla and I’m honored to be guest blogging for Annie!  I met Annie in high school over 15 years ago when she sat behind me in geometry class.  I still remember the day when I turned around and there was this girl who had just moved into town, who said “Hi, I’m Annie!” complete with a big cheerful smile and pigtails.  She soon became my “little sister” and I’m so happy that we are still friends even after all these years.

Recently, I have had this urge to learn how to make homemade goods in the kitchen, with jam being one of them.  Growing up, jam was a staple in my household; my parents ate toast every single day for the 18 years I lived at home and still do to this day (I honestly find this amazing-I don’t know how they do it).  My grandmother was a jam and jelly maker and I always used to love the sweet treats from her kitchen when I was younger, looking forward to the day I could make jam just like her.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to learn from her directly, but my fondness for her jams has lingered with me over the years to the point where I took classes to finally fulfill this desire.

Growing up in Hawaii my favorite jellies and jams were made from ingredients such as lilikoi (passion fruit), guava, jaboticaba, and ‘ohelo berry.  Sadly, those fruits are not readily available in Washington, however since we are surrounded by wonderful fresh fruit and produce here, I love perusing the farmers market to use what’s currently in season.   Since it is spring that means rhubarb, so today I’m here to share with you all how to make rhubarb jam!

All you need is some rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Cut off both ends of the rhubarb so that only the stalk remains; rhubarb leaves are inedible!  Chop the rhubarb into smaller pieces.

Throw all ingredients into a non-reactive pot and boil at medium-high heat for about 15 minutes stirring constantly.  During this time, the rhubarb will start to break down; mash it to break up the chunks.  You could also use an immersion blender if you want a little smoother consistency.

Decrease the temperature to medium heat for about 15 more minutes stirring occasionally.  There are different ways to test if it is set and the easiest for me is using a digital thermometer. “Setting” in jam terms simply means once the mixture has thickened to become jam.  Once the mixture hits 220 degrees, it is set.  Another way is to put a plate in the freezer for a while until it is cold and dropping a little bit of jam onto it to see if it stays in place and is not runny.  If it does, it is done!  If, not, keep boiling!

I love to can my jams since they last a lot longer and it makes it easier to give out to family and friends, especially in Hawaii.  There are lots of websites out there that are great tutorials on how to can.  However, feel free to put them into jars and throw them in the fridge.  It should last a few weeks, unless you eat it all up before that!

Enjoy your homemade treat!

Rhubarb Jam
Yields about 2 half pint jars plus a little extra

+ 1 lb. rhubarb
+ 3/4 to 1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you want it to be (I prefer to use organic evaporated cane juice sugar)
+ Juice from half a lemon
+ 1/2 cup water

Extra Tip: I would definitely recommend wearing an old, long sleeve t-shirt when making jam to protect your arms during the cooking process.  Many recipes call for pectin as well so feel free to experiment with ingredients to find a consistency that you prefer!

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