Thursday, May 20

Bitten by the Jelly Bug

Fern Glen Inn •

Guests often ask me if the jams we serve with some of our breakfasts are homemade, probably because so much of what we offer is made-from-scratch and freshly prepared. And I'd always have to answer 'no'. I never tried my hand at jams and jellies, citing the amount of time involved and the fact that we are always deep in our busy season when local fruits and berries are ripe and ready for canning.

But we have an abundance of rhubarb now during our gently-paced quiet season; and the strawberries at the grocery store, while not local, are sweet and flavourful. So I decided it was time to make a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam. Searching online, I found a common recipe shared on a number of sites and blogs, and it's nearly the same as the one on the Certo Pectin box, and I ended up using a compilation for my fruit preparation. 

When it came to the important steps of sterilizing the jars and processing the jam, I found the best directions on the Bernardin website. If you're new to jam-making, I highly recommend you read their step-by-step guide to home canning.

Our first batch of jam was a success! Now I've been bitten by the jelly bug—I want to make more! Even though I'm very new to jam-making, I couldn't resist tweaking recipes and flavours and putting my own twist on things. The resulting Roasted Rhubarb-Ginger jam is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

If you've been thinking about making your own homemade jam—go for it! It's a great feeling to see those lovely jars lined up in the panty, and even better to slather your very own jam on a piece of warm toast. 

Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Makes 6 or 7 250ml jar

  • 1 1/4 lbs (approx) rhubarb (to make 1 3/4 cups prepared)
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 3/4 lbs (approx) ripe strawberries (to make 2 1/2 cups prepared)
  • 6 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1 pouch (85 ml) Certo Liquid Pectin 
Prepare the Jars
Place 7 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a canner (deep pot with a rack on the bottom). Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID sealing discs in hot, not boiling, water. Keep jars and discs hot until ready to use.

Prepare the Fruit

Wash rhubarb but do not peel. Chop into 3/4" pieces and place in a medium sauce pot. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 - 4 minutes. Transfer 1 3/4 cups of the mixture to a large sauce pot (discard the rest or save for another use).
Wash and hull strawberries. If large, remove and discard the white pithy core from the centre. Cut strawberries into quarters or halves. Crush with a potato masher or your hands. Measure out 2 1/4 cups and add to the rhubarb in the pot.

Make the Jam

Add sugar to fruit mixture in sauce pot and stir to combine. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 3 minutes. Use a metal spoon to skim off and discard any foam.

Pack, Process and Store

Remove jars from canner. Ladle hot jam mixture into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean, wet cloth. Place hot sealing discs on jar rims. Screw bands to fingertip-tight. Place jars upright on the rack in the canner and add water if necessary to cover jars by at least 1" of water.
Place a lid on the canner and bring to a full boil. Once boiling, start timing. Boil for 5 minutes.
When processing time is complete, turn off heat and remove lid. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars and stand them on a rack or dishtowel, with at least 1" of space between jars. Let stand undisturbed for 24 hours.
After jars cool, check seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Store jars in a cool dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

Roasted Rhubarb-Ginger Jam

Makes 6 or 7 250ml jar
  • 2 lbs (approx) rhubarb (to make 3 cups prepared)
  • 1/2 cup white wine 
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar, divided 
  • 1/4 cup, packed, finely diced crystallized ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root (I use a rasp grater) 
  • 1 pouch (85 ml) Certo Liquid Pectin 
Follow the directions for the Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, but use the following method to prepare the fruit:

Prepare the Fruit

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash rhubarb but do not peel. Chop into 1" pieces and place in an ungreased 7"x11" glass or ceramic baking dish. Add the white wine and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir to combine. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes; stir gently then continue roasting until soft and starting to caramelize, about another 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of the mixture to a large sauce pot (eat any extras!).
Continue with the directions above to Make the Jam, adding the remaining 5 cups sugar, the crystallized ginger and the fresh ginger root to the rhubarb mixture before bringing it to a boil. See Pack, Process and Store to finish.


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