This 4th of July, we spent the afternoon preserving some choice seasonal items with our friend Magda. We pickled beets using an trusty old recipe from the 1940’s, experimented with rhubarb strawberry jam, froze down more cherries and dried the last of last year’s blueberries. Phew! Quite an intensive preserving day, but a lot of fun.
We had been saving some rhubarb for some fun preserving, and so after perusing many recipes, decided to wing a strawberry and rhubarb jam. The rest of the rhubarb we cut and froze, so that we can thaw later and make into compotes, sauces and other jams.
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam (makes 8 small jars (8oz) of jam):
- 4 cups of chopped rhubarb
- 4 cups of strawberries
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp pectin * note: I use Pomona pectin (it’s locally sourced) and it uses a calcium water mix. If you have a trusty pectin recipe, etc. follow that. (other cook notes: it should be 2 teaspoons, not tablespoons. If this alteration is made, the jam will not be so heavily pectin-y)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- sterilized jars and lids that have been immersed in boiling water
- Add rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tsp of calcium mix to a pot and cook, until it reaches the consistency you’d like.
- If you want it chunky, just stir, if you want it smooth, use a potato masher. I roughly mashed mine.
- Separately, heat water and sugar in a pan to dissolve. Then put in a blender, add the pectin and blend. (This is for Pomona Pectin)
- Once you have the right fruit mixture consistency, add the pectin mixture, and mix well until it starts to gel.
- Pour into a jar, clean the top of the jar where the lid goes.
- Put the lid on the jar and close tightly.
- Then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Take out, let cool, make sure the jars seal. And there you have it, strawberry rhubarb jam.
We tried some extra jam and it was very tasty! I will admit I added a little too much pectin to my liking (I reduced its amount in the recipe above to reflect what I think would be ideal). You can add more sugar if you want it less sour and zingy from the rhubarb, but of course, I really liked that part.
For beets, we had a mixture of chioggia, golden and regular red. Theresa’s marvelous idea was to combine the chioggia and golden and keep the red separate for a lovely coloration effect. All said in done, her hunch made quite stunningly beautiful pickled beets to show off.
Our go to recipe for pickled beets comes from a little canning book from the 1940’s that’s really cool. We have no idea how we inherited this book- and this morning I have no idea where it is, otherwise I’d have take a picture. Anyway, here is our pickled beet recipe, at least from Theresa’s memory (if we can find the book- I’ll post more specifics):
- 1.5 parts vinegar
- 1 part water
- .5 parts sugar
- cumin seeds
- dash of cinnamon
- Chop up beets.
- Mix up the brine vinegar, sugar, salt, water to a volume that covers beets, then add spices and cook to dissolve.
- Add beets, and bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Pack into sterile jars.
- Cover with sterilized lids and boil in a water bath for 15 minutes.
The resulting canned pickled beets were gorgeous!
We also dried a lot of blueberries (the last frozen bag) with our new dehydrator to make room for new blueberries from this year! It took a long time ~17 hours, but the resulting dried berries were amazingly zingy and sweet!
Overall, we had a very successful weekend in preserving the good of the season. Next will probably be canning pickled cucumbers, and more berry picking and freezing, and of course fresh berry eating!