A Little Bit of Rhubarb-Plum-Vanilla Jam
July 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
I just planted my rhubarb this year (in the strawberry patch I planted last year after my landlords let me tear out a patch of grass – thanks landlords!), and you apparently aren’t supposed to pick it the first year to let it get established. But for some reason mine’s leaves are all floppy – maybe because it’s planted on a hill? any rhubarb experts out there want to weigh in? – and one of the stalks basically broke off by itself. I wasn’t about to waste it, but it seemed silly to go to the store for more when I have so much goodness from my own garden and the CSA. So, what to do with exactly one rhubarb stalk? Let it make friends with the four almost-overripe plums on the counter, and make the teeniest batch of…
Makes three 4oz jars
- 1 oz rhubarb*, cut in 1/2 inch slices
- 7.5 oz plums, not peeled, cut in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
- 8 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
- candy thermometer and/or small plate stuck in the freezer
Mix the plums, rhubarb, and sugar and let it plump for a while on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. If you don’t have time to do this I am pretty sure the world will not end. We’re working with what we’ve got here, and that includes time.
Bring the fruit and jam mixture to a boil in a fairly wide based pot or even a skillet, adding the vanilla towards the end of cooking. Bring it to 220 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer, and/or test for jelling by dropping a little onto the chilled plate and letting it cool then dragging a finger through it. It is done when the edges don’t run back together, or when it runs off your stirring spoon in a sheet rather than individual drops. I admit to not being super precise about this part but I am pretty accepting when it comes to jam consistencies. Pour into sterilized jars with 1/2 inch headspace and process for 10 minutes.
I am kind of obsessed with these little 4oz jelly jars, because you can make such small batches and you can water bath them in pretty much any pot (for me the pot height is the limiting factor when I don’t want to pull out my giant canner, since the bottom of the pressure cooker will just barely fit half-pints without boiling over…too much). I really liked the deep plummy and vanilla notes, and I love how vanilla bean paste (I get mine at W&S) gives you the speckles as well as the flavor. The brighter rhubarb flavor wasn’t super apparent. *Maybe I’ll “accidentally” break off one more stalk next time. Still, a fun little (really little) project and pretty tasty. Experimental jam-making does not have to be a big commitment so throw stuff together and see what happens!
What is your teeniest canning project?