Cooking

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

It is this period of the year again! I love rhubarb, so it was time to make my annual rhubarb jams.

Last year I combined banana and rhubarb and it was liked a lot, so I decided to make it again. This recipe you can find here.

But I wanted to experiment a bit too. Thanks to a dessert recipe that I found in a local magazine, I tried the combination of strawberry with rhubarb, so why not use it for a jam too!

Rhubarb, Strawberries (I forgot to make a photo before mashing them) and jam sugar. This is all you need!

I used the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg rhubarb
  • 1 kg strawberries
  • 1 kg jam sugar

The first step is to peel the rhubarb and cut it in small pieces. Add it in a pot with 200 mL water and let it boil until it becomes like mashed. This is why it is important to peel it first. If the peel remains, there will still be pieces inside. Without the peel we lose the red colour, but that will be compensated by adding strawberries.

Then remove the green part from the strawberries and mash them with the appropriate tool. At the end add the sugar to the strawberries and mix. Add this mixture to the cooked rhubarb and let it boil for 4 to 6 minutes while mixing. To be sure it is ready, do the jam check: drop a small quantity in a clean plate and let it cool for a minute or two. Once it is cooled it should be viscous enough. You can see an example of the jam check in this post.

In the meanwhile, you should add warm water in a pot and insert the jars you are going to use. It is better not to leave the caps too long in boiling water, as they have a plastic layer in the inside. Remove the jars just before filling them with jam, fill them, cap them tightly and turn them around. This way the jam will be air tight and can be stored in a cool place before opening.

It is a nice, moderately sweet jam. It smells strongly of fresh fruits and we enjoyed it a lot!

Cooking

Making elderberry jam

This is a big day! Finally after almost two months I am writing again from the desktop computer! I am almost finished with unpacking and setting up our new home, so today I finally have time to tell you about the new jam we made in the beginning of August!

Remember in May that we made elderberry flower syrup and jam? Especially the jam was such a success! Everybody around liked it quite a lot. It has a light refreshing and not too sweet taste.

After a really nice and quite warm summer, the rest of the flowers we did not cut to make syrup or jam have turned to nice dark coloured berries. So last Sunday my mother-in-law suggested we make some elderberry jam!

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Look at the nice dark red to black colour the berries have!

The procedure is quite easy. First we collected a satisfactory amount of berries. They need to be dark coloured, which means they are ripe and ready for the jam. Unfortunately they can’t be eaten raw, as they are a bit sour.

Then we removed the berries from the small stems they hang from. This was the most tedious part of the preparation, but with the help of a fork the work is easier done. And don’t worry about some small stems or unmature berries.

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Removing the berries from the stems

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All the berries in the pot. Even if there are a few not totally mature inside, it doesn’t destroy the taste of the jam. And don’t worry if a few small stems are also inside.

Once we had all the berries collected in the pot we were ready to start with the jam. They need to be boiled with water, so as to give their juice. The volume of water added is half the weight of the berries. So in our case we had 1.4kg berries and we boiled them with 750ml water. Let the water boil until the berrie burst, then turn the heat off and let it cool down.

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Let the berries boil and turn off the heat. The liquid has a really nice red colour!

The next step involves putting the juice and berries through a sieve so that only the liquid is collected. This is exactly why it was not important to remove absolutely every small stem. It should be noted though, that you should not press the berries in the sieve so as to collect more. That would just result in making the final jam bitter. The berries have given what juice is to be used for the jam while bursting from boiling.

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Extract only the juice without pressing the berries. Attention as it might be quite hot, as in our case.

And finally the last step of the jam: We have to boil the juice together with jam sugar. For 5dl elderberry juice we need 300g jam sugar. We first add half of the sugar with the juice and boil it for 2 minutes, then we add the other half of the sugar and boil another 2 minutes. Gentle mixing is important during all this procedure.

The jam is ready when once you pour a small quantity on a clean plate and let it cool for a moment, it is viscous enough to hold the plate vertical and the jam to run down really slowly, as we did in the elderberry flower jam.

In the meanwhile the jars were washed with hot water and they are filled with the warm jam, while they are still warm themselves, and turned around so that that they close air-tightly.

Jars
The jars filled with the warm jam and turned around so as to get sealed airtight

By now we have tried it and it is really nice too! It has a bit heavier taste than the flowers, comparable to any other berry jam. It has been such a successful year for homemade jam production!

 

 

Cooking

Making rhubarb – banana jam

Well spring is continuing and I am in the mood of creating homemade delicacies with the products that are in abundance this season! After elderberry syrup and jam, this time it was rhubarb that I got interested in!

Rhubarb is a strange plant: it is really a vegetable, but it is used as a fruit. It grows mostly in this season (April/May) and it is just long stalks green to red in colour. Its taste is distinctive: not so sweet but rather a bit sour.

Since it has been around for a while in the market, we have tried several things with it, such as panacotta with rhubarb sauce or a really nice rhubarb cheese cake (that was so nice I am going to try it with other fruits too!).

But it is common to find rhubarb flavoured yogurts and jams (it is used as a fruit as I said). To be honest I have never seen a rhubarb only jam; it is always with some other fruit, usually strawberry or apple. This time I found a combination of rhubarb with banana!

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For the jam we used 1kg rhubarb, 5 bananas, 5 spoons lemon-juice, 3 sticks of vanilla and 1 kg sugar.

I peeled the rhubarb and then cut it in small pieces together with the bananas. I extracted the vanilla from the sticks and then added all the ingredients in a pot and let them boil, while mixing, until it becomes a kind of gel.

 

 

 

Once the mixture was thick enough, the only thing left was to fill in the jars, let them cool and make their labels! And we have another homemade jam for the rest of the year!

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Cooking

Making elderberry syrup and jam

I am a total city child. I grew up in a city of 5 million inhabitants. This means I gained in several matters, mainly cultural, but I lost in others, like contact with nature.

One of the main advantages of our moving to Switzerland is living closer to my mother-in-law. We have a really nice relationship and I get to know more about nature. I can now recognise many herbs myself! And I am getting close to distinguishing the berries among them (they used to be a total mess in my mind before meeting my husband).

Spring is around and the flowers are blooming. Last week the weather was mostly rainy and not good enough to do anything in the garden, but on Friday the sun was shining again. It was the appropriate day to head towards the beautifully blooming tree that my mother-in-law introduced as holunder (sambucus or elderberry in english).

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The elderberry tree

As every year, it was time to make elderberry syrup (well the first time for me). The recipe is pretty easy: 15 to 20 bunches of flowers, 3 lemons in slices and syrup. For the syrup we boiled 3 lt water, 2 kg sugar and 60 g citric acid and once everything was homogenised, we let it cool down a bit and added it to the jars that contained the flowers and lemons. In one of the jars we added a few leaves of lemon balm (zitronenmelisse in german), so as to try it. Then we stored the jars in a warm and sunny place. They will have to stay for 5 days and then our elderberry syrup (holundersirup in german) will be ready!

 

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The jars with the elderberry flowers and the lemon slices ready to receive the syrup once it is cooled down

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Our elderberry syrup is getting ready

Since our tree had so nice flowers, my mother-in-law suggested we try making elderberry flower jam. We collected about 25 bunches of the small nice flowers and added to them 1.2 lt boiling water. We then let them soak for at least 6 hours.

 

After 6 hours we filtered the liquid that had turned yellowish. The recipe underlined that we should try the liquid and if it is bitter, it should be discarded.

 

Fortunately, ours was not, so we added the juice of two limes and half a kilo of jam sugar and brought it to boil. Once it boiled for 2 minutes, we added another half a kilo jam sugar and let it boil for another 2 minutes.

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To check if it is ready, we dropped a small quantity on a plate and once it cooled down a bit it should be viscous.

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This is how we tried if our jam was ready

We filled our jars, added nice little labels and let them cool down, so that it becomes viscous.

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And yesterday in the morning we had a nice Sunday breakfast with zopf and our own homemade holunderblüten gelee (yes this is how we call the elderberry flower jam here!).

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Perfect Sunday breakfast