Chicago

Recipe to Make Right Now: Fresh Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

SideTour host and Chicago-based locavore Andrea Mattson breaks out this recipe every strawberry season to take advantage of the availability of the fresh fruit. Featuring locally grown strawberries and rhubarb, this jam is simple and sweet and allows those favorite flavors of late spring to shine.

If possible, pick up the ingredients from your local farmers’ market. Andrea believes you’ll get better flavor, and it’s always good to support small farmers and the goodness of sustainable growing practices.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

(Makes 6-8 half pint jars of jam)

Ingredients:

2.5 lbs. locally grown strawberries

2.5 lbs. locally grown rhubarb

1.75 lbs. cane sugar, divided

4 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

4 tsp. pectin powder

4 tsp. calcium water

Directions:

1. Rinse fruit. De-stem berries and slice as desired (leave as large chunks for texture or chop small for smooth jam). Cut off green ends of rhubarb and slice remaining stalks into half inch pieces. Toss with 1 pound of sugar in a wide stainless steel pot.

2. Sterilize 8 canning jars and lids in hot water.

3. Begin to cook the fruit and sugar mixture over high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides often. When jam begins bubbling, turn the heat to medium. Skim off any foam with a large spoon for a clearer jam. (Reserve this for cocktails or dessert topping.)

4. Add the lemon juice. Continue cooking to reduce the water content of your jam, stirring well and often. After 15-20 minutes, the jam will begin to take on a darker red color and a glossy texture.

5. Mix the remaining sugar and pectin powder together in a separate bowl.

6. Stir in the calcium water to the jam slow. Shake the sugar/pectin mixture into the jam, stirring rapidly and thoroughly until blended. Continue to stir for 2 minutes to incorporate.

7. Remove jam from heat when done. It will now be dark red, glossy and thick. Remove jars from hot water. Fill with jam carefully, wipe any spills on the rims, and seal tightly. Allow to cool for 2 hours, then transfer to the fridge.

Enjoy jam on bread, cookies, shortcakes, yogurt, ice cream, sandwiches, cakes and more.

Chef’s note:These jars of jam have not been “canned” or heat-sealed, meaning they are not safe to store at room temperature in your pantry. Please keep in the fridge until ready to use. You may use this recipe to water-bath can your own jam, but please do thorough research about the entire process first.

Interested in learning more about local foods, and whipping up another preserved food favorite? Andrea’s SideTour this Thursday, June 13 will teach you the secrets of fermenting and flavoring your own Korean kimchi.

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