Summary: As summer bids us farewell and the cooler weather of fall rolls in, I feel slightly bittersweet because there is less fruit available with which to can. The berries and stone fruits are gone for the year; now is the time to make heartier fare like apple and pear butters. For a brief time though, you can still buy rhubarb at the farmers markets in our area. Rhubarb tends to be a secondary fruit, a supporting actress if you will, but such needn't be the case. Here, it's the main event, buttressed only by sugar, some fresh orange juice and a bit of crystallized ginger. Enjoy!
Yield: makes ~3 half-pints
- 5 cups washed, trimmed and chopped rhubarb, about ½" chop
- 2¼ cups unrefined, granulated sugar
- the juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon diced crystallized ginger
Set up your canning pot and get the water heating. Once it's at a boil, carefully drop the jars inside to sterilize. In a jamming or other heavy, non-reactive pot set over medium heat, stir together the rhubarb, sugar and orange juice. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to high and add the ginger.
Keep the mixture at a steady boil, stirring regularly to prevent anything sticking to the bottom. The rhubarb will start to break down and the jam should start to thicken. If you have a thermometer, begin to take temperature readings; most jams need to hit at least 218 to achieve a good set and kill all possible bacteria.
When your jam is thick and sheets off the back of a wooden spoon, ladle it carefully into your jars, slide a thin knife or chopstick or the like along the inside edges of the jar to let any air bubbles in the jam escape, screw on the lids and bands and process for 10 - 12 minutes.
Remove the jars from your waterbath and set them aside to cool on a cooling rack covered with a dishtowel (to prevent slippage). Don’t disturb the jars for a few hours; just let them cool and settle.