Saturday, May 1, 2010


Rhubarb-Ginger Conserve
Rhubarb-Ginger Preserve
Rhubarb-Ginger Jam
Ruby's Rhubarb-Ginger
Batch 2 Number 1 Ragin' Rhubarb Ginger Mayhem. (you can imagine this is my favorite but probably won't fit on a label)

What about the name? Ideas are welcome!

I was looking all over the place for a recipe for rhubarb jam. Just rhubarb. No strawberries, no raspberries, no nothing. Just rhubarb. I found nothing, except for a few recipes for rhubarb sauce, or rhubarb jams made with strawberry jello. No thanks. I did come across one great little recipe for gingered-rhubarb jam that sounded fantastic, so I gave it a whirl. The first whirl was three days ago. This particular recipe does not require pectin other than that in the veggie itself-- yep, rhubarb's a vegetable, and it has enough pectin in it, once it's combined with sugar, to jell up quite nicely. My big mistake occurred when I allowed the most incredibly-smelling, color-changing, wonder of a preserve to over-boil. When this happens, the temperature raises above the "jell-point," which is about 220 degrees for jams. The next "point" on a candy thermometer is, well, pretty much candy. The fragrance turned to stench, the sauce turned to goop, and the whole mess hardened like frozen taffy. It was terrible. Still, I surrendered to the process, threw some of it in jars while I had the chance, and hoped for a miracle. No such thing occurred. I still have the two jars of hardened rhubarb (and ginger!) on my counter, next to the second batch I dared to make today. And today's batch was much better. MUCH better. So much better that we spread it on our grilled salmon tonight, then opened a second jar to have a couple more spoonfuls. Yum. Need to go running tomorrow.

Anyway, about the name. Jams, jellies, and preserves have to be named according to some FDA guidelines. This is based on fruit and sugar content, along with other specifics. When it comes to the words "preserves" or "sauce," however, the rules are a little more lenient. In this case, I know I can't call it jelly, but I'm sure it can be called jam, preserves or spread. For more info, check out The Nibble.

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