Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam with Vanilla Bean and Bergamot

I was gifted another batch of rhubarb from Patricia. You really have no idea how excited I am to be receiving all this rhubarb so early in the season! I perused through several of my favorite canning blog sites and found a recipe on Food In Jars for vanilla rhubarb jam. The recipe called for adding vanilla bean and a cup of earl gray tea. This sounded interesting, but I knew I wanted to add strawberry to mine because the rhubarb I had was more green in color and would not render a beautifully hued red jam. In addition, I performed a google search & came up with a recipe from an online source that sells cookbooks. The name of the store is The Cookbook Store and is based out of Toronto, Canada.  Their site featured a jam recipe from a book entitled Jellies, Jams & Chutneys by Thane Prince. Feel free to use the link to view the recipe I used as my starting point.  I used frozen strawberries because they are not ripe where I live. I also wanted the earl gray tea flavor nuances from Food in Jars recipe, so I added bergamot essential oil since I had that on hand.

I'd like to share a little information about essential oils. I was first introduced to essential oils about six years ago when getting a massage. I've since become an avid user of oils; mainly for holistic care and aromatherapy, but I also know they can be used for culinary purposes. I purchase my oils through Young Living if you'd care to read more about their uses.


makes 10 half pints

2 1/4 lb rhubarb
1 lb frozen strawberries, defrosted
4 lb organic cane sugar
2 lemons, juiced
9 oz liquid pectin
1 large vanilla bean

5-7 drops essential oil of bergamot

1.Cut the rhubarb into 1/2 inch lengths. I had large stalks so I also split them lengthwise as well. Puree strawberries with an immersion blender.
2. Place fruit, sugar & lemon juice into a heavy nonreactive pot. Stir to incorporate. Let sit in a cool place overnight.
3. The next morning, warm the pot contents over low heat. Stir from time to time then bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Cook for 2 minutes then turn off the heat and stir in the pectin along with the vanilla bean pod and seeds. Return the mixture to a boil, and boil until the jam has reached the setting point.

4. Remove from the heat, remove vanilla bean pod and skim off any foam from the top of the jam. Add the essential oil.
5. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Seal and process in a water bath. I utilized the Ball Blue Book on canning as a reference for water bath processing time. I own two copies, one from 1982 and another from 1999. I've provided an Amazon link to the latest edition from 2004. I put the jam up in several different sized jars, so here are the times I used from the 1999 edition:
  • 4oz jelly jar--10 minutes
  • half pint--15 minutes
  • pint--20 minutes
Note: These times are based on living at EL. 5,555ft.

I'm also including a link that provides information on how to test for the set point when making jam. I used a thermometer for mine.  Here is a close up of the jam put up in vintage Kerr jars. I think they're from the 70's. The picture doesn't show off the squared-off squatty appearance of these half-pint and pint jars that I love so much!

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