Tart, bright, and the very embodiment of spring, this low sugar strawberry rhubarb jam allows the fruit to lead the flavor charge.
Last week, I taught a class for the Brewerytown Community Garden. It was a lovely evening in the garden and more than twenty hardy folks came out to spend it with me. I demonstrated how to make a basic batch of strawberry jam and we talked canning safety, low sugar preserving, and good things to preserve this time of year.
At the end of the class, as we were cleaning up, the event organizers asked me if I might like to take home some farmstand strawberries and several stalks of rhubarb grown right in the garden. I’ve never been one to turn down the offer of produce, and so said yes.
Once I got home, I took a trip through this site’s archives, looking to see if there were any variations on strawberry and rhubarb that I’d not yet written about. Here’s what I found that I’d done in the past.
- Small batch strawberry rhubarb jam with rosewater
- Strawberry rhubarb jam (not a huge yield, but lovely nonetheless)
- Strawberry rhubarb butter (so smooth and spreadable)
- Roasted rhubarb and strawberry compote
I decided that was what I was most craving was a low sugar jam combining the strawberries and rhubarb. I wanted to be able to taste that essential rhubarb tang and knew that using any more sugar would bury it under a blanket of sweet. And so I opted for a ratio of four parts fruit to one part sugar, and used a bit of Pomona’s Pectin to establish the set.
I used three pounds of strawberries and one pound rhubarb because that’s what I had in my kitchen at the moment of making, but I could just as easily see doing this with equal parts berries and rhubarb. I’d also love to do a version of this same preserve with raspberries and rhubarb a little later in the season, though we’ll see if that happens or not (my available energy is limited these days as these babies I’m carrying grow bigger and bigger).
Good Uses for Low Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
This jam is particularly good with nut and seed butters like this sunflower seed butter. It would make an excellent middle layer in these jam bars. You could do as I’m doing a lot these days and eat it stirring into cottage cheese or plain yogurt. Or you could make a batch of whole wheat crepes and use this jam as the filling.
- 3 pounds strawberries, cleaned, hulled and chopped
- 1 pound rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon calcium water
- 1 tablespoon Pomona's Pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 3 pints of product.
- In a low, wide, non-reactive pot, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, 1 3/4 cups sugar, and the calcium water. Stir to combine.
- Set pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the volume has reduced by at least one-third.
- Stir pectin into the remaining sugar and stream it into the cooking jam, using a whisk to stir to help prevent clumps.
- Return the contents of the pot to an active boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes and then start looking for signs of thickening (it should be pretty clear as Pomona's pectin sets quickly). Once you see some thickening, remove the pot from the heat.
- Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.