I refuse to complain about the weather. One could because our extremely hot and sunny temperatures took a nose-dive into grey drizzle. But it’s better to look at the bright side, take to the market and find just the ingredient that will lift the spirits, make the sun shine, tickle the taste buds.
I did just that and found rhubarb, and a small carton of local raspberries. The hearty local plants are giving us their second batch of the year so it feels more like spring than fall. To celebrate, I decided to make jam. But not just any rhubarb jam.
Many years ago while interviewing a Breton fruit grower about her raspberries, I received an enormous gift – her recipe for rhubarb and raspberry jam. Before I continue I will confess to conservative leanings when it comes to jam or jelly – I like the pure fruit types, not the current fads of banana/rhubarb, kiwi/mango, pineapple/cherry and other questionable combinations.
She made her jam sound so good, though, that I decided to try it and I have succumbed over and over. The combination of rhubarb and raspberries is simple heaven. And to be able to create this at the end of summer when we’re all grasping to keep the warm days with us is miraculous.
This jam is very sweet, but then it’s meant to be. It’s also slightly tart, because of the rhubarb. And it’s quintessentially raspberry, so much so that you’ll be asking yourself “Am I eating berries right from the from the bush?”
Whatever the weather in your corner of the world, I suggest you hurry to the market and get rhubarb and raspberries. Make this jam then sit right down and put it on some buttered bread. Baguette fresh from the oven is ideal, of course, but nearly any bread will do. If the hour is appropriate, accompany this feast with fresh coffee, and think of France!
RHUBARB RASPBERRY JAM
CONFITURE A LA RHUBARB AUX FRAMBOISES
2 pounds (1 kg) rhubarb, leaves trimmed, stalks peeled
and cut into ½-inch (1-1/4cm) pieces
1-3/4 cups (435ml) water
3-1/3 cups (770g) sugar
2/3 cup (90g) raspberries
- Prepare five 8-ounce (250ml) canning jars and lids by sterilizing them in boiling water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Place the rhubarb and water in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce eth heat, cover, and simmer until most of the rhubarb is soft, with some pieces still holding their shape, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the sugar and continue cooking, uncovered, at a rolling boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 40 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook until the mixture thickens enough to jell, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch (1/2 cm) headroom, and seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Four to five 8 –ounce (250ml) jars