Friday, May 25, 2007

How to Make Rhubarb Jam & Rhubarb Jelly

In just an hour, beautiful jars of rhubarb jam & jelly

When my sister and I were girls, on hot June days, our mom would send us with a bowl of sugar to the back step where her rhubarb patch was within arms' reach. Ruby stalk by ruby stalk, we'd wipe off the most evident dirt with our fingers, then dip -- and dip and dip -- the rhubarb into the bowl to sweeten each tart biteful. When I was home last summer, I rescued the last bits of Mom's Roundup-ravaged rhubarb from the back step and planted it in my own garden. Some years must pass before my rhubarb plants will qualify as a patch but someday, I'll sugar my very own rhubarb.

It’s oh-so-easy to make rhubarb jam and jelly. Allow only an hour to make both of these at the same time. And when the jars are lined up so pretty on the counter, how proud you’ll feel!

Collect six to eight half-pint canning jars, lids and rims. It’s fine to reuse good-condition jars and rims but the lids must be new. This time of year, grocery stores and hardware stores sell jars (along with lids and rims) by the case.

The trick is to fill sterilized very hot jars with very hot liquid, then let the jar and lid technology go to work. If you inspect the underside of a lid, you’ll see a narrow band of rubber. When hot liquid meets hot glass and pressure is created by tightly closing the jar, the rubber adheres to the glass, sealing out air and bacteria.

Here’s how to fill the jars.

STERILIZE the JARS While the rhubarb cooks, run the jars through the dishwasher by themselves, no dirty dishes! Time it so the jars are hot-hot when the jelly and jam are also hot-hot.

FILL the JARS Spoon the hot fruit into the hot jars to within 1/8 inch of the top edge. A funnel helps but isn’t necessary. With a damp cloth, wipe the inside lip so no fruit remains.

SEAL the JARS Place a lid on each jar and tightly screw on a rim.

WAIT Within 2 – 3 hours, you’ll hear an unmistakable and satisfying ‘pop’ as each jar seals. To check, press the center of a lid with a finger. The jar is sealed if the lid won’t depress, it’s not if it’s got a dimple. If a jar doesn’t seal, don’t worry. Just refrigerate it and enjoy the contents within a couple of weeks.

THINK Now really, wasn’t that easy?! And aren’t you proud?!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

COOKING LESSON:
RHUBARB ROSEMARY JELLY

Pretty pink & rosemary pungent
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Makes 3 or 4 half-pint jars
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb, trimmed in half-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 ounce unflavored gelatin (2 packets)

In a large kettle, bring the rhubarb, water, sugar, vinegar and rosemary to a boil. Let simmer for 15 – 30 minutes until rhubarb becomes soft and syrupy. With a wooden spoon, press the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids.

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the ¼ cup water, stirring in if needed. Let soften a minute, then stir into rhubarb.

Fill jars following instructions at left.



RHUBARB GINGER JAM

Perfect for toast and muffins
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Makes 3 or 4 half-pint jars
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb, trimmed in one-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
  • Zest of a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until jam thickens, stirring often.

Fill jars following instructions at left.


More Rhubarb Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Rhubarb Sorbet

from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
~ Practical Home Canning Tips ~

Do you have a favorite rhubarb treat that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me the recipe in a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.
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© Copyright 2007 Kitchen Parade



Friday, May 11, 2007

Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble

Local strawberries arrive soon! Here are three simple ways to enjoy their ruby sweetness.

First, a crumble made with a magical combination of strawberry, chocolate, banana. So good! Next, a '"fool" made with strawberries, that an old English strawberries 'n' cream combination. Mine version is plumped up with the tang of Greek yogurt and a touch of orange. Finally, just wait until you taste a most elegant strawberry dessert, oh-so-simple strawberries in wine.

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Crumble, another Easy Summer recipe ♥ KitchenParade.com, a magical combination of strawberry, chocolate, banana.

My house backs up to a park. Well, that’s what I call it. The neighbors who live there call it their back yard.

Saturdays, the "park" gets mowed and trimmed by a man or two and a boy or two. From their friendly waves and hallos across the fence, it’s no stretch to surmise they may have been born elsewhere.

Last year, during the height of the Congressional immigration storm, one of Mother Nature’s blew through town, littering the park with sticks and branches and limbs.

(Ever picked up two acres of sticks? It’s tedious, back-bending work. As girls, my sister and I dreaded this spring assignment. We worked, slowly. We complained, loudly.)

Next day, a boy of 11 or so collected sticks all morning, never resting, never complaining, hauling armfuls of brush to a growing pile near the street. In his ears were the telltale white buds of an iPOD, one of the coveted digital music players.

I don’t know how immigration reform will work out.

What I do know is that this kid dreams of life’s equivalent of an iPOD.

And he expects to earn it.

And that it is wholly American – some how, some way – to afford his dream.

ALANNA's TIPS Really fresh home-grown strawberries can contain so much moisture that the Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble is some times (but not always) more soupy than crispy. It's still groanably delicious, just don't expect it to be scoop-able like an apple crisp, say. You can make the Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumbles in advance, then rewarm in a 200F oven. If there's a leftover ramekin, toss it into a blender with a few more strawberries, some ice and milk - voila, one of the best strawberry smoothies ever! One night when dinner for two turned into supper for ten, I started to improvise to make a big casserole dish of this dessert. I added canned peaches and pineapple, added oatmeal and white chocolate to the topping. It was devoured with great relish!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. To share a recipe for a luscious strawberry treat, just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

STRAWBERRY BANANA
CHOCOLATE CRUMBLE

Fruity chocolaty goodness
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4
  • 16 – 20 strawberries, hulled, in chunks if large
  • 2 bananas, in chunks
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced small
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped roughly
  • Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Divide the fruit among four one-cup ramekins and toss gently.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients with a fork or your fingers until coarsely crumbly. Spoon mixture onto the fruit, letting it slip into the cracks.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve warm!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 244 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 15mg Cholesterol; 117mg Sodium; 40g Carb; 4g Fiber; 27g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 7 & SmartPoints 12

STRAWBERRY FOOL

Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 7 cups, easy to divide for fewer servings
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Zest & juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, optional but lovely
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cream

In a food processor, combine the yogurt, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and liqueur, pulse until smooth. Add the strawberries and pulse two or three times, just enough to make small bites but without puréeing.

Whip the cream. Gently fold the berry mixture into the whipped cream. Arrange in serving dishes.

Serve immediately or chill and serve within a couple of hours.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 152 Calories; 12g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 46mg Cholesterol; 15mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 1g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 7

STRAWBERRIES in WINE

Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes enough for 1 to many
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Sugar
  • Lemon zest strips
  • Fruity red wine or dry sherry (my favorite)

Slice strawberries, then toss with a spoon of sugar, strips of lemon zest and a splash of a wine or sherry. Let rest for an hour before serving, gently stirring occasionally. Yes, it's that easy!

Strawberry Chocolate Banana Crumble Strawberries in Wine Strawberry Fool

More Strawberry Desserts

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Strawberry Shortcake Iowa-Style Strawberry Ice Cream Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Five-Minute Fruit Salad Mojito Strawberries Finnish Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake

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~ Strawberries in Wine ~
~ Strawberry Fool ~





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