Lately it seems like the entire blogosphere has been taken over by posts about strawberry and rhubarb. Totally understandable. Everyone gets so excited about the advent of summer that we can't keep a lid on our trips to the farmer's market or the blooming peonies in our yards. I know here in the Midwest we have a precious few months of pure summer, so we hold them dear.

Lilacs at the Madison Farmer's Market.
And this isn't even a crowded day.

So, I'm going to add to the many posts about strawberry and rhubarb...

This weekend I did something new - I made jelly (strawberry-rhubarb, of course!) Now, many of you are probably seasoned jelly-making veterans but  I'm a complete newbie. My only resource was my cousin Julie who has a thimbleful of knowledge on this subject so she invited me over to help with the sweet, sticky mess.

This is the brand we chose to run with.
We followed the directions for cooked jam by the trusted experts at the Sure Jell company. Since neither Julie nor I are particularly good at math, deciphering the ratios of the fruit to pectin caused a little bit of heartache, but we didn't let that stop us. (I am the queen of "eyeballing" it, btw.) I don't really have a recipe to share with you since, like I said, we just followed the instructions on the box but I can tell you that one of the modifications we made to the original recipe was to not add the butter. It seemed arbitrary and in the end our finished product was just fine without it.

Cutting up pints and pints of strawberries.
Cooking down rhubarb until it became mush.
The other recipe alteration we made was to cut way back on the sugar because we were trying to achieve a jelly that is a little bit more tart. I think we added half the amount that was called for on the box.

Skimming, skimming, and more foam skimming.
 Neither of us has a proper canning pot with a basket (I am going to remedy that shortly) so we made "freezer jelly". That means that, once the jars are filled and cooled, they were popped into the freezer - except for one that went in the fridge for immediate use. And wow! It is seriously tasty! Sweet, tart and curiously fresh tasting compared to store-bought jelly.

Jars of goodness waiting to be frozen.
The effort was enough of a success that I now have the jelly-making bug. I would really, really, like to try this again - and get better at it. Since this adventure, I have been browsing for recipes on the web and dreaming about all sorts of flavors. Overall, the process was pretty easy and yet it helped satisfy that "pioneer" urge I get to make things from scratch.

–Cassandra (aka Half Pint)

No comments:

Post a Comment