Blubarb. Bluuuuuuuuuuubarb. Sounds like a particularly dense cartoon pirate, doesn’t it? I picture Barney, in a white, puffy Seinfeld shirt and an eye patch. With a rakish sword at his side, of course (if he can find a sword belt to fit around that rather prodigious middle. He’s probably been eating too much blubarb jam.).
So: blubarb. Blueberry + rhubarb = blubarb. Wild Maine blueberries, in this case, harvested last August, frozen, and sold to a grateful locavore, who missed her own blueberry season in New York due to a crazy work schedule last summer. Ensconced lovingly in said locavore’s chest freezer, that is until June started knocking on the calendar (three days! Three! Wasn’t it just Christmas?). Taken out of the chest freezer to thaw last week, as part of #ChestFreezerDefrostWeek (which is stretching into #ChestFreezerDefrostMonth it seems), in which I attempt to use up everything in the freezer in preparation for a thorough defrost & cleaning prior to loading it back up again this summer.
And: rhubarb. Local organic rhubarb from Accord, NY, in this case. Even though I still have frozen rhubarb from last Spring in said chest freezer (and I really need to use it up: see #ChestFreezerDefrostMonth), I was powerless to resist the Siren Song of Rhubarb at Julia’s Half-Pint Preserves pop-up shop last weekend. Five pounds of local rhubarb made its way home with me (as well as some backyard-chicken eggs and a trio of super-cute speckled cheese crocks), and as I had both thawing blueberries and fresh local rhubarb in the fridge: blubarb jam.
The resulting jam is really quite nice: soft set, but not as soft & syrupy as my previous batch of wild blueberry jam; very tangy (not at all sweet, as Tai says) but nicely balanced, and with just a hint of floral lemon from the Meyer pectin. It’s also a nice use for the not-so-vibrantly-pink rhubarb that we tend to grow here in the Northeast, as the greeny-brown color of cooked rhubarb is masked beneath the vibrant purple of the blueberries.
Now, ten jars line my pantry shelves, moving the backlog from the fridge & freezer to sit safely in the larder, waiting for cooler days. And another preserving season has begun.
- 2 and ½ lbs wild blueberries, (fresh or frozen)
- 2 lbs rhubarb, sliced to ½-inch (fresh or frozen)
- 2 and ¼ lbs (4 and ½ cups) sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 8 oz (1 cup) Meyer lemon pectin
- large pinch sea salt
- In your largest preserving pot, combine blueberries, rhubarb, sugar, pectin and salt. Stir to mix and, if you have time, allow to macerate for 1 hour (or up to 3 days).
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Bring fruit to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil hard, without stirring, until jam reaches the set point (220 degrees F on an accurate thermometer, or a small dollop of jam wrinkles after 2 minutes on a frozen plate). My batch achieved a loose set at 218 degrees F.
- Ladle hot jam into hot jars to ¼-inch. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 10 cups.
- This is a very big batch of jam: almost too big. It easily could, and probably should, be cut in half. I was in a hurry, though, and it did reach a set point relatively quickly (about 20 minutes) for such a large batch. Just make sure you use your largest, widest pot so it doesn’t take forever to cook.
- As this is relatively low-sugar (only about 50% sugar by weight as compared to the fruit), I do think it needed the pectin boost. If you prefer a sweeter jam, you may be able to get away without added pectin; but I would add the juice of one or two lemons to help with the set.
- Several flavors would work nicely here if you feel like something more exotic: candied ginger, rosemary, cinnamon stick, minced hot chile.
Canned, store up to 1 year in a cool, dark spot.
Year round with frozen fruit.