This past weekend, my mother came down to visit me and my sister in Northern VA. With her, she brought her homegrown rhubarb for us to use to make strawberry rhubarb jam. My mom’s best friend from high school, Corinne, lives in Central VA and also came up to show us the ropes of canning. Corinne is an avid gardener who grows all her own produce and knows the intricacies of canning - she has a cellar underneath her house that is specifically reserved for her hundreds of canned goods. Corinne prefers to use a hot water bath method to make jam, so she brought along her canning hot water bath and various other equipment. She also brought some canned pickles and pumpkin for us to have. The pickles were amazing and half my jar is already gone. I cannot wait to use her pumpkin to bake some muffins and cookies with.
Canning is a wonderful way to preserve the fruits of your labor especially when you have an abundance of fruits or veggies that you do not want to go to waste. In order to can, you need the freshest ingredients possible. Therefore, you would never want to go to the grocery store and buy fruits or veggies to can. Rather, you would want to go somewhere where you could get fresh produce in large quantities. A farmer’s market is a great place to buy local veggies or fruits to can, but a better place to get the freshest ingredients possible is from an actual farm. There are farms that allow people to come in and pick their own stuff. June is a great time to go strawberry picking, while the later summer months are great for picking raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries as well. The cost for picking is cheaper than buying at a regular grocery store and buying at the farmer’s market as well. I’ve gone strawberry, blackberry,and raspberry picking with my mother in NYS. There’s nothing better than tying a huge bucket around your waste and going into the fields to pick your own berries. These fruits are great to freeze if you don’t want to use all of them for canning or if you want to can them at a later time. Strawberry and rhubarb pair nicely together because the tartness of the rhubarb is offset by the sweetness of the strawberries. We made three batches of jam which gave us 12 half-pint jars of jam and 4 pint-sized jars. This jam came out tasting perfectly balanced – sweet and just a pinch tart!
- 1 pouch of Certo
- 6 1/2 c sugar
- 1/4 c lemon juice
- 2 1/4 c strawberries
- 1 3/4 c rhubarb
- Wash your jars with hot water and dry upside down on a kitchen towel.
- Place your lids in a pot of water and allow to come to a boil to sterilize.
- Fill your water bath with water so the water covers the tops of the jars by a 1/2 inch and heat on medium-high so the bath can come to a boil.
- Meanwhile, clean your strawberries and rhubarb and place in a blender to mash up. This will remove any unwanted chunks in your jam.
- In a large stock pot, put your sugar, lemon juice, and mashed rhubarb and strawberries. Heat on medium-high and stir until it comes to a rolling boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, allow to boil for 1 additional minute.
- Add the Certo packet to mix and stir for 1 minute.
- You will see a frothy foam form on the top of the mix. With a spoon, slowly skim off the foam and discard.
- Using a funnel, pour the jam into each jar.
- Dip your hands in a small bowl of water and gently clean around the rims of the jar tops before putting the lids on.
- Put the lids on top of the jars tightly. The jars might still be very hot, so hold the jars with a kitchen towel while you put the lids on.
- Place each jar gently inside your water bath. If the water bath has not come to a boil, wait until it does and then leave the jars inside the bath with the top on for 10 minutes.
- Carefully lift each jar out of the water bath and place on a kitchen towel. Allow to cool completely.
- Store in a cool place. After opening a jar, be sure to refrigerate after.