Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A bit over a year ago, my landlord bought me a gorgeous new stove - best in its class in everything, according to Consumer Reports. About the only thing I can say against it is that, though it's gas, it's got an electric starter. This is no fun in an area where there are more than one's fair share of power outages.

This, however, is minor compared to the problems with the old stove. Though I can cook on anything, the oven was having problems with regulating temperature and was a bit of a pain in the rear. Then there was the time when it tried to gas me (seriously! I had nightmares of drowning, of being strangled, etc. When I woke up, found a leak and closed the pipe.)

Anyway, Sunday evening, once the power went back on and stayed on, I decided to make a bit of jam from what I picked up at the market the previous day.

Summery Somerville Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Fresh, native strawberries
Lemon Juice

I can't really give exact numbers, as I work in proportions. Trust me on this, though: if you puzzle out with a pencil and paper beforehand, you'll be fine. Really.

1.) Clean, peel (if necessary) and cut rhubarb into small slices. Clean, hull and slice strawberries. Mix the two together and squeeze in a bit of lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon's worth).

Native strawberries from Drumlin Farm. Baby rhubarb from the stand next to the Drumlin Farm one.

2.) Measure how much fruit you have. Here's where the math comes in: for each cup of fruit, you will need between 3/4 and 1 1/4 cup sugar. I tend to err on the side of less as I like things tart(er), myself.

This time around, I had 3 cups of prepared fruit (half rhubarb, half strawberries), so I used 2 1/4 cups of sugar.

3.) Put sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to slightly warmer than room temperature.

4.) Add fruit (and up to 1/4 cup water) to sugar, then stir until sugar is dissolved. Heat mixture to boiling, then keep to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. At about minute 10, it's usually a good idea to start testing how the mixture jells.

Bubble, bubble...actually, this jam is toil and trouble-free. No corn syrup or commercial pectin, either.

5.) When finished cooking, ladle into clean, sterilized jars. Seal and cool.

Jars and lids steaming after being filled with boiling water.

See? Easy as pie. Actually easier, as no crust is involved.

Pretty, tart, happy stuff. Too bad there wasn't any left over for me.

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