Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jam

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jam

This rhubarb jam is probably one of the best things that has ever come out of my kitchen. My husband, always my biggest fan, said that it is the best jam he has ever tasted. While it was cooking my house smelled amazing. If I had a clue how, I would bottle the scent or make scented candles out of it.  The idea for this jam has been rattling around my head since last summer after I made what I guess would be called stewed rhubarb that I put on plain yogurt.  I was pretty darn nervous about making proper jam, since I had only ever made freezer jam before.  I was worried about how difficult it seemed and I sure as hell did not want to poison anyone if I did it wrong.  Since I followed proper canning guidelines and was meticulous about cleanliness, I am confident that my jam is safe and will last in the pantry for quite some time.  My husband reassured me with the eloquent statement, “I’m sure it is fine. You boiled the snot out of it.”

There are a lot of great resources out there for home preserving. I found one very helpful site, CanningBasics.com and I went out to the bookstore (of course) to pick out a new book as well.  The book that I got was Well Preserved 3rd edition, by Mary Anne Dragon. It is very detailed and has lots of great ideas for creating new and interested preserves as well as old favourites.

This recipe is the first of many that will come from the great local fruits and vegetables that I will be getting through Bailey’s Local Foods, the food buying club that I joined, and Transpire Organic CSA. The rhubarb that I used in this recipe and for the many batches that I have made, is from Barrie’s Asparagus (no relation to my hometown) via Bailey’s.

Most jams have cups and cups of sugar, which is a very necessary part of the process and it is not my intention here to call this jam a reduced sugar jam. I reduced the amount of sugar slightly and replaced some of it with agave syrup. Agave is becoming very popular as an alternative to sugar. It is still a sugar, not one of those fake chemically tasting substitutes, but since it is slightly sweeter by volume than white sugar I could use a little less and still get the same effect.

Another addition to this jam is pomegranate juice. While I was researching recipes for rhubarb jam, I saw lots for strawberry rhubarb jam and very few for just rhubarb. I saw some jams with very enticing pictures of gloriously red jam but upon reading the recipe I saw that there wasn’t even real strawberries in it – it was strawberry Jello! I was concerned that if I just made rhubarb jam it would be a disturbing murky brown colour.  The addition of 1/2 cup pomegranate juice gave flavour and I got a lovely deep burgundy coloured jam instead of a tarted up red like the recipes that had Jello in them.

I took the preserving very seriously. I boiled the jars, lids (not the rings), ladle, funnel and the little magnet wand thingy that I bought to pick up the metal lids. I boiled all that for at least 10 minutes. After I cooked the jam and ladled it into the hot jars, I put the lids on, then the rings and boiled (processed) the sealed jars for another 10 minutes. Some of the jars made the popping sound after I took them out of the water, some did not. I made sure that they were sealed by pressing the centre of the lid. If it yielded when I pushed I would know that it wasn’t sealed, but they were all on there really well.

I have now made a total of 5 batches of this jam. A little note to my family and friends – if you have a birthday coming up, guess what you are getting from me and Simon? The jam will also be stored so that it is ready for Christmas gifts too. I plan on making lots of different kinds of preserves this summer with my CSA gems and more great produce from Bailey’s Local Foods. If you have a bunch of rhubarb in your garden, I really hope you try this recipe. If you are scared of the canning process, you could make this and refrigerate the jars and give away what you won’t use in a reasonable time frame.

Canning Resourses
Bernardin Home Canning
Canningbasics.com
Well Preserved, 3 edition, by Mary Ann Dragon (book)

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
1/2 cup agave syrup (light)
1/2 of a vanilla bean
1 box pectin (I used Certo)

How-to

1. Wash all your jars, lids and canning instruments with hot soapy water and rinse well.

2. Chop the rhubarb thinly, about a half centimetre thick. It doesn’t need to be exact, just not huge chunks. Put the chopped rhubarb into a stainless steel or enamel bottomed pot. The pot should have a nice, thick bottom so that the sugar doesn’t burn and it can maintain the heat evenly.

3. Add the sugar, pomegranate juice, Certo (or other pectin) and agave syrup. Slice the half vanilla bean down the centre, lengthwise. Scrape out the little black seeds and add them to the pot and then throw the bean pod in the mix as well. There is still lots of flavour left in the pod.

4. Stir the mixture and turn on the heat to a medium low. Stir it occasionally and let it boil for approximately 30 minutes.

5. When you start heating the jam mixture, start boiling the jars in a large pot with a rack on the bottom. Boil the other instruments and lids in a different pot. (See online resources for details on how to do this) Boil the jars, etc. for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot while you wait for the jam to finish cooking. DO NOT add hot jam to cold jars!

Jam is nearly done – been cooking for about 25 minutes.

6. To test to see if the jam will set, spoon a small amount onto a plate and check it after a couple minutes. If it is set, you are good to go.

7. Ladle the jam using a sterilized ladle into the hot jars. Fill the jars leaving 1 1/2 to 2 cm space at the top. If any jam got on the rim, wipe it using a clean cloth and place the lid on. Put the ring on and tighten it gently. You do not want it too tight or it could crack in the processing.

8. Place the hot jars in the large pot with boiling water, with the rack in the bottom. Process for 10 minutes.

This recipe yielded 4 – 250 ml jars and 2 – 125 ml jars.

 

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jam
Author: 
Recipe type: Jam, Preserve
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Rhubarb jam with vanilla bean, pomegranate juice and agave syrup.
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup agave syrup (light)
  • ½ of a vanilla bean
  • 1 box pectin (I used Certo)
Instructions
  1. Wash all your jars, lids and canning instruments with hot soapy water and rinse well.
  2. Chop the rhubarb thinly, about a half centimetre thick. It doesn't need to be exact, just not huge chunks. Put the chopped rhubarb into a stainless steel or enamel bottomed pot. The pot should have a nice, thick bottom so that the sugar doesn't burn and it can maintain the heat evenly.
  3. Add the sugar, pomegranate juice, Certo (or other pectin) and agave syrup. Slice the half vanilla bean down the centre, lengthwise. Scrape out the little black seeds and add them to the pot and then throw the bean pod in the mix as well. There is still lots of flavour left in the pod.
  4. Stir the mixture and turn on the heat to a medium low. Stir it occasionally and let it boil for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. When you start heating the jam mixture, start boiling the jars in a large pot with a rack on the bottom. Boil the other instruments and lids in a different pot. (See online resources for details on how to do this) Boil the jars, etc. for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot while you wait for the jam to finish cooking. DO NOT add hot jam to cold jars!
  6. To test to see if the jam will set, spoon a small amount onto a plate and check it after a couple minutes. If it is set, you are good to go.
  7. Ladle the jam using a sterilized ladle into the hot jars. Fill the jars leaving 1½ to 2 cm space at the top. If any jam got on the rim, wipe it using a clean cloth and place the lid on. Put the ring on and tighten it gently. You do not want it too tight or it could crack in the processing.
  8. Place the hot jars in the large pot with boiling water, with the rack in the bottom. Process for 10 minutes.
  9. This recipe yielded 4 - 250 ml jars and 2 - 125 ml jars.
Notes
Be sure to follow safe canning practices. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal properly.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ever After Jam

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply