Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making Orange Rhubarb Jam

Growing up, my mom and I would always can berry jam in the summer. That's something I've been looking forward to doing when we're up in Bellingham for the summer. However, last week I got my hands on some lovely rhubarb plants and I figured I could use them to make something that could be canned. 

On a side note, the peacock is still with us. Above is a picture from this morning. The peacock appeared to be displaying for Leila. She wasn't too sure about the situation. 

I decided that yesterday would be my baking day so in the morning I started my two loaves of bread. While they were rising I moved on to jam making! I found a recipe for Orange Rhubarb Jam in my book of Home Preserving (see below). It's a great resource filled with all sorts of canning recipes and an excellent section about food safety and canning which is definitely something to take seriously. 

First I got out all the jars I would need for the recipe and washed them, along with their lids and screw tops in the dishwasher. I'm not going to go over all the steps here and safety concerns here, just some of the main steps for canning. So, if you do decide to can something, please be sure to read through a proper resource to make sure you're following the necessary safety precautions. Botulism is scary. 

Next, I washed out my big canning stockpot. It is so big that I had to wash it in the bathtub! I put a metal canning device down in the bottom of the pan and rested the washed jars on it. The metal prevents the jars from actually resting on the bottom of the pan and it allows water to flow all around the jars. I then covered them with water and started heating them up.

Next, it was time to get the jam ready. I chopped up a bunch of rhubarb into tiny pieces. 

Then used a vegetable peeler to cut off some strips of orange peel. 

Which I cut up into tiny slivers. I didn't add quite all the orange peel because I didn't want the jam to be too bitter. I'm not very fond of marmalade and I didn't want the jam to turn out that way. 

I also squeezed the juice from the oranges and mixed that up with the chopped rhubarb and orange peel. 

I was so thrilled to find that I had exactly the right amount of Sure Jell in the pantry. I can't remember exactly when I bought it, but it was so nice to be able to make the jam without having to run to the store! Before I started heating the rhubarb orange mixture, I stirred in the Sure Jell until it had dissolved. 

Next, I brought the rhubarb orange mixture to a boil then added the sugar. (and boy do you need a lot of sugar!)

Once the sugar was mixed in the jam was almost ready. It just needed to boil for another minute before it was time to ladle it into the jam jars. 

It was a bit tricky and very very sticky (which is why I don't have very many pictures of the process) but I managed to get the hot jars out of the water, fill them with hot jam, remove the air bubbles, wipe the rims of the jars, and cover them with a hot lid and screw top. They looked so pretty! Then they went back into the water bath where they boiled for 10 minutes to sterilize and seal. 

I now have 14 beautiful jars of Orange Rhubarb Jam to eat and give away! It was a bit messy and took several hours but I love the process and can't wait until my next canning project! 

And it tasted simply divine on the fresh, homemade Buttermilk Bread that came out of the oven right around the time the jam was finishing up. 



  1. A good deal of the fun is watching all the colors and shapes through the process. you've got lots of lovely light in your kitchen to help make cooking fun :-)

  2. Your jam looks delicious. Almost too pretty to eat!

  3. Just FYI, if you're feeling at all burdened by having too much jam, I'd be happy to help you out by taking one of those off of your hands.