Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Jam

ImageI understand that this post is a little bit behind peak strawberry season, but I’m putting it up anyways, in the hopes that some of you have a few pounds of strawberries you stashed in your freezers just waiting for that perfect jam recipe to come around.

ImageA friend of mine gave me the last few stalks from her rhubarb bush a week before the strawberries were really in full swing, so I stashed them in a glass of water in the fridge and crossed my fingers that they’d still be intact when the time came. Except for the ends curling up, they were basically perfect.

For this particular batch I had a few slightly bruised apples that needed tending, so I threw them in with the rhubarb and strawberries. I think it made the jam a little bit thicker and a little lighter than without, so it may become a regular feature. Lemme’ know what you think if you get to experimenting.

Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Jam

Made 2 1/12 lbs of jam – with this method the total jam equals out to the same weight of fruit used. I’ll include the ratios so you can sub in other kinds of fruit – I’ve been using red plums and strawberries and have my eyes on a pineapple variation.

1 1/2 lb Strawberries – washed and quartered with the greens removed
1/2 lb Rhubarb – cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 lb of Apples – I used Gala because they were what I had on hand, peeled and cut into chunks.
2 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Toss the fruit with the sugar and honey and let sit, covered, in a nonreactive bowl for about 30 minutes. Macerating the fruit like this seems to help the jam cook down a little bit faster. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen so I try to figure out ways to make my cooking process more efficient without loosing any flavor or food-integrity.

Scrape the fruit/sugar/juice mixture into a deep but wide sauce pan – the wider the base the faster the jam will cook down. Add in the honey and the balsamic vinegar – bring the mix to a low simmer and stir (continuously is great but unnecessary, so long as you don’t let any of it stick to the bottom and burn) until the fruit has mostly broken down into indistinct pieces.

Image

I always like to use the immersion blender at this point and blast the jam to make a smoother spread – I feel like it disperse the flavors more evenly and I have a more consistent product. I’m also weird about chunky textures. This cooking down process should take about 30 minutes, but to be sure, take a small spoon full of jam and dab it onto a plate. Tilt the plate to its side, if the jam runs, it isn’t ready, but if it stays in place, it is ready to jar or freeze or eat all at once.

ImageI like to put mine in sterilized 16 oz jars, leaving about 1/2″ of headspace, and process in a hot water bath for about 15 minutes. It usually gets eaten well before it would go bad without any canning, but we eat a lot of toast around here.

The basic ratio to remember is 1 lb of sugar and 1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar to 1lb of fruit. So far this ratio has worked out pretty well with other types of fruit.

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