Drizzled over soft cheese = Divine
I love late spring so much. Strawberries, rhubarb, preserving... oh my!Okay, that was cheesy, but seriously - I'm a little ecstatic that it's finally time to start preserving. We had surprise strawberries at the farm (120 pints of 'em), and I harvested rhubarb for the first time!My first act of fruit-in-jar goodness? You guessed it:Strawberry rhubarb preserves. It's a classic. And I've never done it before!
It's more chunky than a jam, and positively oozes with delicious sauce.
Ingredients:~ 3 c. strawberries, sliced~ 3 c. rhubarb, sliced~ 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice~ 1.8 c. granulated sugar (okay... just go for a bit less than 2 c., and more than 1+2/3)~ 3/4 tsp vanilla extract (which I just so happened to have, ever since making granola!)
~ 2 pint jars, clean
First, slice up your strawberries and rhubarb into 1/3-1/4 inch pieces. Incidentally, I found that a mature rhubarb stalk equals about one cup of sliced rhubarb. Neat.
(Don't listen to the picture - it took about a pint and a half of strawberries to get 3 cups)
Mix your strawberries and rhubarb in a saucepan, with 1/3 c. water.
Let your fruit & water mix come to a quick boil over medium heat, stirring often on the way.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for ~10 minutes.
Now, it should be pretty darn juicy. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract.
Continue to simmer and stir often for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and/or you lose patience (like I did!) Luckily, I wanted it to be chunky, more like preserved fruit and less like a jam.
Note the subtle difference from the first photo, 15 minutes prior (namely, extra foam)
Carefully pour your hot preserves into your clean pint jars - if you've got a jar funnel, more power to you. I don't, so I was just careful and didn't spill onto the lip of the jar. I don't know the exact headroom (space from the top of the lip) that fruit preserves need, so I eyeballed 1/4-1/8 inch. Good enough, right? (if you know, feel free to tell me!)
Lid your jars and give them a boiling water bath for 10 minutes - or 15, if you live at 5,600 feet elevation like me. This seals those jars up tight and ensures you'll enjoy them throughout the year!
The jars look so small in my shiny new pressure canner!
Once your preserves have sufficiently boiled, get 'em out of that water and let them cool! I'm the lucky semi-owner of a jar-lifter (bless those roommates of mine, with all their nifty stuff!), but if you aren't, I found that tongs and a firm hand can work... just be ready with a potholder, in case your grip slips.
Now, admire the ruby beauty that is your strawberry rhubarb preserves!
Did I mention that the strawberry rhubarb sauce is absolutely delicious over soft cheese? It tastes like a melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake.
To top it off, the cheese was gifted... thank you, Lisa!