By the time I had cleaned up the rhubarb patch, Sunday’s harvest weighed in at nearly five pounds! It was definitely time to pull out the canner and select a recipe or two to try out. 4 hours, 3 recipes, and 2 batches of canning later, the storm carnage had been successfully transformed into one satisfying afternoon of canning.
At the top of my “must try” list for this season, was this recipe for Vanilla Rhubarb Jam. I just plain sounded good! I did my research, checking out similar recipes and reading up on the acidity and pectin level of rhubarb. I made only a couple of minor adjustments that would not reduce the basic fruit-sugar-acid-pectin formula, which are reflected in the recipe below. The original recipe called for a whole vanilla bean, and while I’m sure that would definitely add to the flavor, it’s just not something I keep on hand, nor is it high on my list of justifiable splurges. A couple of the other recipes I looked at indicated vanilla extract could be substituted, so I compromised by breaking into the bottle of double strength vanilla I had stashed away in the back of the pantry (this was a good call). I also followed the lead of the original recipe, and added a little more lemon juice to keep the flavor nice and bright.
Rhubarb Vanilla Jam
5 cups rhubarb, cut into half inch pieces
2.5 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 teaspoons double strength vanilla extract
Juice from 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 pouch liquid pectin
Combine rhubarb and sugar in a large pot, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for several hours (as long as overnight, if desired). Add water and cook on medium-high heat until boiling. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and salt, and cook for an additional 10 minutes before stirring in the pectin. After the pectin has been added, continue to cook until the jam coats the back of a spoon in an even sheet.
Transfer jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving half an inch headspace. Wipe the mouth of the jar clean before placing lid and ring on the jar. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
Yields 5 half pint jars
Recipe adapted from Food in Jars