Sunday Dan and I made strawberry-rhubarb jam at the Cook Here and Now dinner. Dan is one of my market buddies; seeing him and his daughter Mia lugging their cooler-on-wheels makes even the foggiest Saturdays brighter and better. Dan has taken a couple of classes from June Taylor, the Bay Area's most skilled jam maker, and has made several types of jam on his own.
Our collaborative effort is, if I say so myself, exceptional. All credit due to Dan, who bought, hulled and macerated the berries, and gave a running commentary on what June Taylor would do. He even did the math, all logical-like!
Dan: How much sugar should we add?
Me: Uh...until it tastes and smells and looks good?
Dan: Let me get a pencil.
I convinced him to add a bit less sugar and more lemon than he proposed, to allow the the tart flavor of the rhubarb to match the sweet berries.I even picked the lemons from the tree in my backyard. California!
The fruit boiled down fairly quickly, but it took a while to get the consistency we wanted. It started out pinkish-red, like the blood of a baby seal that had eaten too much cotton candy, and finished as a deep rose.
By the way, I just checked with my friend Sonya, and she said the baby seal blood comparison was not too weird, so I'm going with it.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
3 quarts strawberries, sliced and hulled
1 3/4 quarts rhubarb, sliced into chunks about 1"
3 cups sugar
3 lemons, juiced
Macerate the sliced berries overnight with a cup of sugar. Toss them in a non-reactive pot with the rhubarb, lemon juice, and sugar to taste. Boil until you reach 220 degrees and the mix passes the freezer plate test.
This yielded 12 jars of mixed sizes. To get a more accurate estimate than that, I'd have to inquire with Dan.