Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Preserves (Low Sugar)

I've gone back and forth about calling this a jam/preserve or calling it a spreadable fruit.  I decided that because this recipe has some sugar in it that spreadable fruit isn't a true description.  But it has too little sugar to be a jam so it must be a preserve.  Whatever it is, it's damn good.  Like eat out of the  jar good.  Like...crave in the middle of the night good.  I mean it's so good that I baked a loaf of fresh bread just to have something to eat it on.  And do I'd stop feeling like a glutton as I ate it with a spoon.

It's pretty straight forward and easy to make.  I water bath canned mine...but should have skipped that part because everyone I shared it with to taste test ate it all up within a day or so.  One taste tester said that the balance was so right on it that she could see it being used on top of savory dishes (chicken or pork for sure) as well as buttered toast.  And she's right...it really could go either way.  And please don't be scared by the use of the balsamic.  I promise with all my heart that this one is a keeper for sure.  Enjoy!

Funky Rhubarb Fact:
While the stems of the plant are delicious to eat and very nutritious, the leaves are not safe to eat at all.  The leaves are full of oxalate crystals which when eaten break down to release the highly poisonous acid oxalic acid.    Most cases of oxalic acid poisoning are mild and present with nausea, vomiting, burning of the mouth and throat, and muscular twitching. Large amounts may be lethal or, at the very least, cause permanent liver and kidney damage.  But rhubarb leaves are safe to compost!  So don't throw them away, add them to your compost bin and use the compost to help your rhubarb plants grow strong and tall. 

A reader just e-mailed me to tell me that the leaves are very acidic, and great to use as mulch around anything that wants acid, like blueberries.
Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Preserves

2 cups chopped rhubarb (for me that was 3 stalks)
2 cups pureed or crushed strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 box low sugar pectin

1.  Mix sugar and pectin in small bowl.
2.  Pour fruit, vinegar and water into medium sauce pan.
3.  Turn heat on to medium.
4.  Stir in sugar/pectin mixture.
5.  Bring to boil, boil 3 minutes.
6.  Pour into prepared jars.
7.  Process as you would any other homemade jam or preserves.

*One very important note to make.  Low sugar jams, while wonderful, are more perishable than regular high sugar jams.  Even with proper canning procedure the low sugar jams should be consumed sooner rather than later with a 4-6 month time line used as a guide.  There are going to be exceptions to every rule, but this is the guide I was told to follow.

**Second important thing to note.  You really shouldn't have to worry about the preserves sitting on the shelf too long.  You'll be lucky if any of it makes it into jars or to any friends as gifts.  This recipe should come with a warning...delicious and addictive.  Enjoy! ;)


Post a Comment