Spring Fever

rhubarb-strawberry jam

A confession, if you will: up until this week, I had never cooked rhubarb. In fact, I’m sure that I had tried it, but I really had no clear recollection of its flavor.

I realize this is not the kind of thing I should be telling you before launching into a recipe.

rhubarb

It’s just that, well, to put it bluntly: cooking rhubarb is another one of my kitchen phobias.

After hearing of all of the dangers of not cooking it properly, I just didn’t want to take the risk. As far as I know, I haven’t yet sent anyone home sick from a dinner party—please, if I’ve cooked for you and this hasn’t been the case, don’t burst my bubble.

strawberries rhubarb

But, despite all of my reservations and fears, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by those pale pink stalks. To me, they’re the apotheosis of seasonal, local eating. Combined with strawberries, they positively scream Spring!

And so, when I saw them in the aisles of the grocery store (Yes, I said “grocery store” and not “farmer’s market.” Baby steps, people. I’m just proud of crossing one kitchen/food phobia off of the list.) this week, I finally bit the bullet.

Don’t wait as long as I did. After all, rhubarb is only in season for a short time.

rhubarb-strawberry jam

Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam

Adapted from Saveur

I made some tweaks to the originally recipe, most notably in scaling back the sugar and adding in some vanilla to give the jam more depth. I haven’t used it on anything other than bread, yet, but I’m thinking of making crumb bars with a shortbread base. I can’t think of anything better to take along on a Spring picnic.

0.5 cups sugar
2 cups rhubarb, diced
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 1 TBS)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb and strawberries break down and the mixture has thickened. This will take about an hour.

Let cool before packaging.

Makes 1.25 cups

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