Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Corn moon

After weeks of saying I was going to get some putting up taken care of, the day finally cooperated. In fact, the whole family had a great day at home, productively puttering. It must have been the corn moon working it's celebratory, harvest magic.

The papa got the reel mower out and quietly did lawn laps, Rowan entertained himself (for the most part), and the mama managed to actually get some large enough chunks of calm time to process and can.

This year we planted Chiogga beets instead of the standard blood red beauties. I do so love the labyrinthine pattern and they are so darn sweet when roasted. The jury is still out on how they stand up to pickling. They were much less messy, but there is something to say about the red-bordering-on-purple color of the standard pickled beet. I have to admit, I kind of miss it. These are attractive in their own right, but a little dull.

What turned out to be anything but dull was the wickedly delicious blueberry rhubarb jam. Let me start by telling you, I adore blueberries. Blueberry pie, blueberry crepes, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes. My mother knows better than to ask me to help pick either at her patch or any of the other "secret" woodland spots she frequents. I can spend all day picking and end up with a scant bucket of take-home harvest. One for me, one for the bucket...two for me, one for the bucket...three for me, one for the bucket. You get the picture.

What I don't like, have never liked, and swore would never like is blueberry jam. It's too sweet, too flat, too ugh. It always tastes like it's missing something. Like some ephemeral blueberry essence somehow escapes in the canning process never to return again.

But add a little rhubarb and whoa! That tart fiend inexorable linked with the strawberry gives the blueberry its groove back.

The best part about blueberries is, like under ripe apples, they act as the gelling agent. No pectin required. The naturally-thickened jam is tender, but certainly won't go running off your toast. This new-found collaboration may actually surpass raspberry-currant on my favorite jams list. (Yes, I have a favorite jams list. And am prone to buying ridiculous amounts of weird and wonderful preserves despite making my own each year.) I'm officially in love.

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

8 cups blueberries
4 cups rhubarb, chopped into blueberry-sized pieces
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water
4 cups sugar

In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, rhubarb, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar. Increase heat to high and boil vigorously about 10-15 minutes until jam begins to set (thickens and gets shiny), stirring frequently. Remove from heat, skim off foam and stir for 3 - 5 minutes to suspend fruit evenly throughout jam. Fill sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 4 pint jars or 8 half pint jars.


Mon said...

There's a brand of preserve we used to buy in England (but is actually French) that has a gorgeous blueberry jam. I've never made it myself so perhaps they have a secret to keeping that essence in?

Your combo sounds really good, will keep it in mind for the future.

Earthenwitch said...

Oooh - looks good. Blueberries are just so lovely - I am drooling just looking at your goods.

Oh, and the Dave McKean book on Rowan's shelf? Genius. I used to babysit his children a few years ago; he is a lovely chap.

Aden Meyler said...

Amanda, that recipe for Blueberry Rhubarb jam sounds wonderful. Not u
Until you described what you don't like about blueberry jam, did I realize why I don't like it either. And I love blueberries too! I'm goin to give it a try.

docwitch said...

that looks delicious! I'm going to take note of that recipe - love that combo of rhubarb and blueberry. Inspired.

Lovely photos too!

Leanne said...

Oh my now that jam looks divine! We are a little way off any modest beet harvest from our patch yet...I am eagerly awaiting it though....I too am trying a different variety this year. Beautiful moon for getting your puttering done!

Chandra said...

oh yummo!!! My two favs...blueberries and rhubarb in ONE JAM?!?! I can't wait to indulge! Thanks so much for the recipe :) Come and check me out OR


sunnymama said...

What a deliciously yummy post!

I left you an award at my blog. No need to pass it on unless you want to but I just wanted you to know that I think your blog is great :)

5 Orange Potatoes said...

Hmmmm, maybe I would actually like rhubarb this way, in a mix with blueberries. It looks really good.
Thanks for sharing this.

Lisa ;)

The Awakened Heart said...

I have to say that despite knowing absolutely nothing about canning or jamming (of either kind!), I would definitely try my hand at that blueberry and rhubarb jam. It's jamtastic! (sorry) Can I come over to your house now...?

Amanda said...

Thanks, ladies!

Mon: Is the preserve St. Dalfour or Chantaine? Despite frequently making my own jam, I'm addicted to both of their wild varieties and buy them often.

Earthenwitch: We will definitely be looking for more Dave McKean. Love him!

Aden and Chandra: Let me know if you try the recipe. I'd love to hear your opinions.

Docwitch: Totally unrelated, but saw a fashion spread in Vogue (U.S.) themed Littel Red Riding Hood and thought of you.

Leanne: If you have any really good beet recipes, let me know. I basically only do two things with them...pickle and roast. Always looking for new ideas.

Sunnymama: Thanks for the award! I will post and forward soon.

5 Orange Potatoes: Not a fan of rhubarb? Totally not rhubarb-y in this recipe. Just makes the blueberries even better!

The Awakened Heart: If you're ever on this side of the earth, you're welcome to stop by anytime! We can jam :)