I made that!

The first jam of the summer

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Yes We Can! by brandi on June 21, 2011

So you may have noticed that I’m not really cooking much these days. What can I say that I haven’t said in the last 4-5 posts? I miss cooking. I almost even miss stopping everyone from digging into piping hot yumminess so I can spend 5 minutes photographing it. Almost.

While I have been building and planting at The Pantry like a crazy little caffeinated person in overalls, I did manage to learn a few things about cooking while I was away from my computer. In Seattle we have a lovely jam-maker named Rebecca Staffel, who owns a company called Deluxe Foods. She’s kinda awesome (and she’s my neighbor, how lucky am I?!) and one day in May she let me hang out with her while she made her prize-winning gingered rhubarb jam. I felt like the luckiest girl in the Pacific Northwest for learning some of the tricks of the trade. Because while I’ve made a jam or two in my day, I am in no way a seasoned jam-maker. And rhubarb jam just seemed intimidating. I mean, rhubarb’s not even a FRUIT! But Rebecca broke it down for me and I went away giddy with plans for making my own batch of pink goodness. It’s been a crazy month, and I suspect it’s about to get crazier (our first event is in three weeks!). But we officially ran out of home-made jam in my fridge and well, if that’s not a kitchen emergency then I don’t know what is.

So I dropped everything yesterday and made some rhubarb vanilla jam. Whew.

I started by chopping up the rhubarb into teeny tiny bits. Like 1/8″ big bits. I rubbed the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar, and mixed the vanilla sugar (pod included) into the chopped rhubarb. I squeezed in the lemon juice and threw in the whole lemon chunks, which supplied some much needed pectin. I let the whole pile sit overnight in the fridge to get the juices out of the rhubarb.

The next morning I heated it all in my favorite pot. I kept it at a good strong simmer (is that just a boil?), stirring occasionally, until it reached its set point. This was my first time using a thermapen (Thanks for the tip on THAT one Rachel!), so I was feeling condident bringing the jam just to 220. Except then I got nervous that it wasn’t set and cooked it a bit more…hee. I ladled the hot jam into jars that had been boiling the whole time to get nice and germ-free. Once the jars of jam were lidded, I placed them on a tray and baked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. This is my first time “baking” them instead of processing them in boiling water, and I’m super excited at how easy it is (easy like, I can set a timer and run back to construction land and let John pull them out of the oven)!

We cracked open one of the jars last night for dessert. We just ate it with shortbread cookies and whipped cream and oh my, it is going to be a great summer.

Rhubarb Vanilla Jam Recipe:

2 lb 12 oz rhubarb, finely diced

2 lb sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 lemon, quartered and seeds removed


22 Responses

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  1. Brenda said, on June 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Jam, with cookies and whipped cream sound divine. I have never made jam, I think I can do this. Love the vanilla addition of vanilla.

  2. Elizabeth said, on June 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    YUM! Now I know what to do with pile of rhubarb I got at the market! 🙂

  3. kenzie said, on June 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    i want to make this so bad! Will have to try before the rhubarb is all gone.

  4. rstaffel said, on June 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Brilliant!! I love the idea of the vanilla! Too much fun! Let’s jam all summer! xoxox Rebecca

  5. Christine McC. said, on June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Looks like you got about 3 pints (1 pint jar and 4 half-pint jars)?? Looks great and I’m hoping to make this next weekend!

  6. Sarah said, on June 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Tell me more about this baking thing! I hate water bath processing so much!

  7. Wayne Rooney said, on June 22, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Nice ,realy nice 😀
    Welcome to my site : Manchester United

  8. The Dinner Belle said, on June 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I love how little ingredients you need for this! Simple yet amazingly yummy. Now you have me craving shortbread and jam. Damn!

  9. Charlotte said, on June 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the tip about processing jars in the oven! I’ll have to use that.

    Also, I’m glad to hear someone else wonder if a strong simmer is just a boil… I’ve always wondered that myself…

  10. Zoe said, on June 23, 2011 at 1:37 am

    this looks and sounds so delicious.
    i’m going to make this jam this summer!

  11. Anna@ The Littlest Anchovy said, on June 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Oh wow! i have never seen rhubarb jam before and to pair it with ginger is inspired! I am so glad you are back 🙂

  12. Lauarie Saunders said, on June 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Any trouble with the color fading from the rhubarb and leaving the jam a little beige colored? Yours looks such a pretty pink……

  13. Laurel said, on June 28, 2011 at 7:07 am

    O my gosh that sounds great. I have been making jam for a couple years now, and even selling it at Christmas time but I have never made rhubarb and this recipe sounds so delicious!
    I love your blog. I love to make things homemade, like pasta, sausage, jam, bread, etc, and I am getting my mom to post some of her candy recipes on my blog!
    I love your pantry thing. I have so many grandiose ideas like that and I absolutely love what you all are doing. I might even be a little jealous 😉

  14. Katie said, on July 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Rhubarb jam! This sounds delicious and looks beautiful!

  15. Jen said, on July 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I made this jam this past week and it turned out great. Too bad my rhubarb is all gone. It is really delicious. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Lindsay said, on July 7, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…can’t wait – the rhubarb is still in it’s first year so can’t be cropped yet but next year HELLO RHUBARB AND VANILLA JAM! :o)

  17. blackbookkitchendiaries said, on July 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Love making fresh jam. Rhubarb has a great taste, but never thought of using vanilla. Sounds yummy. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  18. Kyle said, on July 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I need Rhubarb. Like now.

  19. Sue said, on July 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi there nice post, I made a jam like this yesterday minus the lemon, but I wonder about the ginger you mentioned, I don’t see it in the recipe. Did you use ginger in it?

    I am going to give this a try with the lemon, and maybe serve it with my candied ginger scones. That should give it the ginger boost. I know how yummy the scones are with blackberry jam.

  20. raw kale salad | sustenance space said, on July 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

    […] and I have starting making this summer’s jams! Today i made this delicious vanilla rhubarb jam. […]

  21. Kevin Chamow said, on December 9, 2011 at 12:28 am

    It’s not summer, but this still looks great. Maybe just turn the thermostat up a little bit.

    Kevin Chamow

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