I came home from North Dakota with a bag full of rhubarb, freshly cut from Jamie's parents' garden, and I knew that the first thing I was going to make with it would be jam.
His mom had made a couple of strawberry rhubarb pies which we enjoyed while we were there, the tart-sweet combination of the fruit always one of my favorites. I will have to make Jamie a rhubarb pie soon...
For the past few summers I've made jam, with whatever fruit is available. Last summer I made a batch of Apricot Peach Preserves with nutmeg and ginger, with the stone fruit we'd brought back from Palisade, CO. Over the winter I made Cranberry Orange Preserves, one of my dad's favorites. Other summers, Cranberry Blueberry Jam, Strawberry Apricot Jam, Red Currant Blackberry Jelly, Sweet Black Cherry Jam... And in the fall, slowly-simmered Apple Butter with lots of spices. I love, love, love jam on toast. I even love it on crackers, and if you've never spooned jam onto a cracker with a piece of cheese, you really should. The other night as I was making dinner, I nibbled on a few crackers with goat gouda cheese and little spoonfuls of this jam, and it was so yummy.
My dad loves my homemade jam, too, and I decided to send him a jar for Father's Day. So after we arrived home from the long drive back from North Dakota to Colorado, I spent the following evening making a big batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, so that it would be ready to get a package in the mail the next day.
Everything was covered with sticky jammy goodness - the kitchen counters, my stock pot, my favorite wooden spoon, my hands, my apron... But after standing over a boiling pot of jam, trying not to get burned from the splatters, filling the jars and processing them in their water bath and getting all that stickiness wiped up, I tasted a spoonful of the jam and it was all worth the effort to taste that fresh flavor of summer.
It's been a while since I've made muffins, so I baked a batch of Banana Pecan Muffins on Sunday, one of the first Sundays we've had at home in a while with summer starting off pretty busy. It was one of those mornings I wanted to last all day, with the warm soft banana muffins, and the jam with its sweet strawberries and hint of tart rhubarb, pajamas and movies on the couch...
One Year Ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Spiced Chai Tea Bread, in Honor of my Grandma
Two Years Ago: Crockpot BBQ Chicken with Bacon
Banana Pecan Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 small bananas)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350. To toast the pecans, spread them on a baking sheet to toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, while the oven is preheating. Place 12 paper liners in a muffin pan.
In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in 3/4 cup of the pecans.
Fill the cups 3/4 full with the batter. Crush the remaining 1/4 cup of pecans and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for a few minutes, then serve warm with jam or honey.
Yields 12 muffins.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- 2 pounds sliced strawberries (hulled and wiped clean)
- 1 pound chopped rhubarb
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons classic pectin
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
~For my previous post on tips for making and canning jam, please click here and read first, before getting started.
~This makes a large batch, and can easily be cut in half or fourths for a smaller batch.
- In a large stock pot, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat until very juicy; simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Mash the fruit slightly or leave it chunky, whichever you like.
- Gradually stir in the pectin. Increase heat to high (be sure you are wearing oven mitts to protect your hands and arms from boiling jam splatters, or you will get burned) and stir constantly to bring to a rapid boil.
- Dump all the sugar in at once. Continue stirring constantly to return to a vigorous boil that can't be stirred down. Boil hard for one minute.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter (to reduce any foaminess) and the vanilla.
- Ladle into your hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch "headspace" at the top, to allow for expansion.
- Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth, center the lids on the jars, and screw on the rings "fingertip tight".
- Process in a water bath according to standard canning procedures (about 10 minutes in boiling water at sea level and 20 minutes in boiling water for high altitude).
- Carefully remove from the water bath (using a jar lifter) and set on the counter to cool overnight. The next day, check the lids - if they are indented, then the jars sealed properly and you can store the jam in your pantry until ready to use. If the centers of the lids are popped up, then they didn't seal properly, and will need to be stored in your refrigerator and eaten in the next 3 months or so.
Yields about 10-11 half-pint jars.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen