Canning in jars is easy when you know How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from fresh rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon without pectin.
This may have been the best jam, or preserves, or jelly… or whatever you want to call it… I have ever made. No. Ever enjoyed. It was that good. I will tell you why.
First of all, I used the best possible strawberries in the world. They are called Hood strawberries. Prized for their bright red color and exceptionally large size, Hood strawberries emerged from Oregon’s Hood River Valley in 1965. They grow best in the Western States, but if you really know what you’re doing in the garden, I’m sure you can figure out how to grow them in your neck of the woods. They only have one harvest each year as opposed to plants that continue producing all season long, and its like a feeding frenzy when they’re offered at the farmers markets.
But, I actually use more than twice the amount of rhubarb in this recipe than I do strawberries. I do this for a few reasons. First, rhubarb is much cheaper than strawberries (at least mine was). Second, if you’re not going to use pectin, you need a lot of sugar in order to get your jam to gel up. Strawberries are already incredibly sweet, so the addition of a ton of sugar is just nauseating. Rhubarb, however, is incredibly tart, so the addition of sugar makes everything right in the world. I saw a lot of recipes online that called for a heck of a lot more sugar than I used and let me tell you – if you’re using good quality sweet strawberries, I wouldn’t put any more sugar than what my recipe calls for. The balance was perfect as was the final consistency.
As much pleasure as I would have taken in devouring all four cups with a spoon and some crusty white bread, I decided to can four jars of this liquid gold for the winter months when I’m craving the summer bounty that had long since come and gone. I did, however, get enough extra to fill this little dish which made for some incredibly tasty treats. If you don’t want to can the jam, it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, but let’s face it – canning is fun! So preserve it!
- 5 cups rhubarb (about 3 large stalks), cut into 1⁄2" cubes
- 2 cups hulled and halved strawberries (about 1 pint)
- 2 1⁄4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about half of a large lemon)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Once mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium low. You'll want the heat set to the point where it continues to bubble but not violently when stirred (you'll understand once you start cooking if jam bubbles start to pop out of the center of the pot). Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the jam has thickened. Plan on cooking jam for about an hour and temperature of the mixture is over 205 degrees F.
- While the jam is cooking, sterilize four 1-cup jelly glass jars plus their rings and lids. I do this by boiling them in water for 10 minutes or I boil the lids and run the rings and glass jars through the dishwasher.
- Transfer sterilized jars, lids, and bands to a clean dish towel.
- Have a very large covered pot of boiling water ready. There needs to be enough water in the pot so that when the filled jars are submerged, they're covered by at least 1" of water.
- Fill each jar with hot jam, leaving at least 1⁄4" of space at the top. Place lids on jars, and secure ring bands. Secure just tight enough so that they are hand tightened but you can easily unscrew.
- Transfer filled jars to pot of gently boiling water and let boil for 10 minutes. Transfer jars, set at least 1" apart, to a dish towel and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. You should hear the seals on the lids pop pretty soon after removing from the water.
- If any jar is not fully sealed, or you chose to skip the canning process, jam should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. Sealed jars will keep, in a cool, dark place, for up to a year.