Spring is when some of the best produce is made; including peas, root veg, asparagus, rhubarb, and oddly enough, strawberries. Doesn’t that last one just stick out like a sore thumb?
I love Strawberries, these little guys are not only sweet, but confusing as hell. For example, they aren’t berries, they aren’t even fruits! They are in the same family of plants as roses, and the fleshy part of the ‘berry’ is what botanist call a fleshy receptacle, which is a fancy word for a swollen part of the vine that holds seeds. Which I think technically makes them a vegetable, however I couldn’t find anything that confirms they are. That being said, the ‘seeds’ on the outside, are actually little fruits! Which make the whole strawberry an aggregate accessory fruit. When you think about it, accessories can make the outfit, and accessories to murder still go to jail, so what’s the difference!
All that aside, let’s start making some jam.
I’m using rhubarb from my local farmers market, and frozen strawberries… which might sound odd, but here is the fact of the matter: the weather has given my area little to no strawberries. The weather in Peru must be beautiful this time of year because the package of frozen strawberries I bought were from there, and they were perfect.
Fruit and vegetables get all their taste and nutrients from the vine/ground they grow in/on. When you buy fruit and vegetables from the grocery store, the product is picked early, so it will ripen as it travels; giving it a longer shelf life. This means the quality of the product suffers. Buying local is a great way to get a better product because it has a shorter travel distance, and therefore get more time in the soil. Because of the afformentioned weather here, the strawberries are subpar and non existent in the farmers’ market. So, I’m going for the frozen strawberries. Firstly, they are picked right when they are ripe, and then flash frozen. Secondly, they are brought in from where the weather has been kinder to them. So it’s the best choice for me now.
This Jam came out beautifully, the classic mixture of strawberries and rhubarb is popular for a reason, and the added hint of caramel was a nice addition. That being said, the recipe given below is what I did, but if I were to do it again, I would definitely cut the Pectin in half, and replace more of the regular sugar with the Browned sugar.
- 283g (10oz) of granulated sugar.
- This is essentially caramel that acts more like sugar. It has that sweet aromatic flavour of caramel, but remains crystallized like sugar.
- 600g Frozen sliced strawberries (yes frozen, read above for why)
- 200g of Rhubarb
- 254g Browned Sugar
- 293g Sugar
- 57g Pectin
- 1.5 T Vinegar
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan, and layer 283g of sugar evenly over the sheet pan.
- Place pan into a 270 degree convection oven (300 degree, if not convection).
- After half an hour, use a spatula to move sugar around, and break up any clumps forming. Rotate pan 180 degrees.
- Keep repeating step 3 until sugar is golden brown and delicious
Let sugar cool, if lots of clumps form, use a food processor to restore to granules
Now that we have the Browned Sugar, let’s start our jam!
- Wash the rhubarb, trim off the leaves and branches, then cut it into 1″ bias slices.
- Place the Strawberries and the Rhubarb into a pan on low heat. Mix it occasionally until there is enough liquid to mostly cover the rhubarb and Strawberries, then place the lid on the pan.
- Keep lid on pan until the rhubarb becomes becomes really soft.
- Remove the lid, and turn up heat to high until the mixtures comes to a rapid boil.
- Add Sugar, Browned Sugar, pectin, and Vinegar and mix until incorporated.
- Leave mixture on high for 5-10 minutes mixing continuously, then lower heat to medium and make sure mixture stays at a medium boil.
- Keep mixing so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan, and wait until the mixture get viscous. If the boil starts to become roaring, lower the temperature.
- Take a spoon and use it to put a drop of the mixture into ice water. If the drop disintegrates in the water, leave the mixture to boil longer, if it holds a ball like shape, it’s ready to remove from the heat.
- Let mixture cool, then transfer to storage container and put in the fridge
- Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/20 13/oct/03/science-magic-jam-making didn’t use any information directly from here, but it helped me make my recipe