Saturday, July 2, 2011


In Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, when the family contemplates what they will miss most during their year of eating locally and seasonally, her older daughter laments the loss of fresh fruit. With good planning, after a year one could have plenty of dried fruit and jam, but raisins and fruit leather is not really the same as a bowl of cherries.

I'm living in greater awareness of where my food comes from, but could not resist a carton of peaches from Trader Joe's last weekend. I also bought bananas yesterday, something we don't usually eat in the summer, because they were at the new food co-op in town (so many, so yellow, we'd better buy them and eat them!)

Then, yesterday, I also went strawberry picking at the Willenbring's Produce Acres in Cold Spring. Last year, when I went on my birthday on June 25, the berries were already past their prime. This year the berries were smaller and dark red, due to the cool, wet spring, not enough sun to plump them up. Still, they are very sweet, and quickly filled the kitchen with the smell of strawberries. They made beautiful, dark red strawberry-rhubarb jam. And the whole time I was making the jam, I was thinking of the popovers of winter, when the jam will be most welcome.

And now, suddenly, with peaches, bananas, strawberries and blueberries in the house, it is time for fruit salad! This holiday weekend, we will enjoy the real bounty of summer in its freshest, juiciest form!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
makes 8 8-oz jars
3 cups chopped rhubarb
4+ cups hulled, crushed strawberries (I leave some smaller ones whole)
5 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbs regular powdered fruit pectin (or one package-- I've upped the fruit but it would still work)
4-5 cups sugar

1. In a deep pot, combine the berries, lemon juice and pectin, stirring until the pectin is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. (Skim off foam if present, but I haven't had much foam with this fruit.)
2. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
3. Place jars in boiling water canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Let them sit in canner 5 minutes, then remove to counter to cool completely. Make sure the seals are firm before storing.

If, while making the jam, you have filled jars in the canner simmering, when you empty them you will have plenty of hot water for processing. It also keeps things moving along, while sterilizing the jars. I made two batches from start to finish in 2 1/2 hours.


Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed the book by Kingsolver. I tried asparagus for the first time because of her love for it :). Thanks for the recipe too! - Susan A

Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed the book by Kingsolver. I tried asparagus for the first time because of her love for it :). Thanks for the recipe too! - Susan A