The combination of strawberry and rhubarb is nothing short of genius. Food needs to be balanced–salty, sweet, spicy, tart. The combination of sun warmed fresh strawberries and blood-red crisp rhubarb is the ultimate combination of sweet and tart. For me , it’s the perfect dessert. I LOVE dessert and would never skip it if I could. BUT, I’m also not a fan of super sweet things. I stay away from many pies, often laden with extra sugar. While a small square of dark chocolate is perfectly satisfying, I want nothing to do with milk chocolate. Strawberry rhubarb pie is pretty much my ideal dessert. But of course, its something only so perfect in season. A strawberry rhubarb pie in winter, filled with California strawberries and rhubarb from who knows where just isn’t the same. When I can’t enjoy something fresh year round, I preserve it. And my beloved pie now takes the form of jam.
I shared pictures of this recipe last year, but never actually shared the recipe. Pretty rude, I know. This jam is literally pie in a jar. Some days you’ll want to forget all about the toast or bagel you intended it for and just eat spoonfuls right out of the jar. Don’t worry, I’m guilty of it too. While most of my jam production is small batch, this one is in bulk. I must have canned a dozen jars last year. This year I only made 6 jars but there’s still time. Each trip to the greenmarket guarantees at least 2 quarts of strawberries ($6 each or 2 for $10), sometimes more. And while every week I’m convinced this is the perfect rhubarb, the next week it’s there again–brighter, bigger and crisper.
What I love most about this jam is its purity. No pectin, just fruit, lemon juice and a bit of sweetener. Sure, you could pack it full of sugar, but why? This recipe relies on honey as a sweetener. Chopped strawberries macerate for hours in honey, drawing out its natural juices and sugars. The rhubarb then comes in with its puckering tartness to balance everything out.Because the strawberries need to sit for so long, I highly recommend making the full recipe or even doubling it. The prep work might seem a bit exhausting at first, but after tasting the final product, you’re going to regret only having 6 jars. It’s a jam that you will no doubt have any trouble consuming. And if you do go with a small batch, keep it a secret. Otherwise you’ll have family, friends and neighbors lined up outside your home, begging for a jar.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (Adapted from Preserving Summer’s Bounty) Makes 6 half-pints
- 6 c strawberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 3/4 c honey, divided
- 6 c rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 tbsp bottled lemon juice
Place strawberries in a large bowl and add 1/2 c honey. Mix well. Let strawberries macerate at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight. If letting sit overnight, you can do this in the fridge, just bring to room temperature before using.
Allow to boil rapidly for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t burn. The mixture should become thick and fruit should be mostly broken down but still slightly chunky. Remove from heat and skim off foam.