Last year, when I was 8 months pregnant with our second child we moved into a beautiful new house – a block and a half from our old house (our Realtor thought it would be funny to send me the posting). As the snow melted, a ring of red and green nubbins popped up from the ground in the area where a garden had once been. I was thrilled that I didn`t need to start yet another rhubarb plant from scratch!
However, after a few weeks, things were starting to get out of hand. The.Plant.Was.Huge. Ridiculously huge. My husband refused to go anywhere near it. It made my daughter cry because she thought monsters lived in it.
Oh well, at least we had rhubarb! So I started scouring canning and preserving books thinking of all the ways I would use this new-found wealth.
This recipe is from one of my favourite canning books: the Bernardin Complete book of Home Preserving:
Rhubarb Orange Jam
5 Cups Finely chopped rhubarb
1 Package Regular powered fruit pectin
6 Cups Granulated sugar
1. Prep your jars, lids and rings.
2. Remove the zest from half of one orange with a vegetable peeler. Cut the zest into very thin slivers, about 1 inch long, and set aside. Juice both oranges and measure to 1 cup (adding water if necessary).
3. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine orange juice, slivered orange zest and rhubarb. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
4. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot jam. Wipe rim, Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
This tastes like the epitome of spring to me. The zippy, citrusy flavour brings back memories of sunshine and morning coffee even on the dreariest winter day.