Ginger-rhubarb jam (with a touch of orange)

29 06 2009

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When I was in college getting my oh-so-practical women’s studies degree (Okay, get all your jokes out now, especially the classic “I’ve been studyin’ women my whole life and I still don’t understand them.  Haw haw haw!”), I became obsessed with prairie women. You know, women in thrice-mended calico dresses, grasping their manifest destiny with tanned muscular hands while at the same time tending a fire, caring for the young ‘uns, and putting up jam.  I read piles of journals kept by women during the westward expansion. I read them, discussed them, and wrote papers about them until I started to feel like I was one of them.  I think I even considered wearing a bonnet.  

I’m not sure what my fascination was with frontier women, but I’m starting to wonder if a bit of it stuck with me.  Today I think I tapped into that lingering prairie ethos:  I MADE JAM!  That’s right, real live jam.  Jam with fruit and sugar.  Jam you can spread on crusty homemade bread, or dollop on a muffin, or lick off of a spoon.  REAL JAM!  

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I had four handsome stalks of rhubarb just begging to be made into something.  The strawberry rhubarb theme has been done; I wanted to go in a slightly different direction.  I found a recipe for ginger-rhubarb jam, and with a few tweaks and twangs, turned it into something delicious.  Zesty from the ginger, tangy from the rhubarb, sweet from the sugar.  And the orange adds a little… depth.  Frankly, it’s taking all of my self-control not to just spoon it directly into my mouth right now. I might need to ask R. to hide it from me.  Maybe he could dig us a bona-fide prairie root cellar and we could keep in there, just out of easy reach.

Ginger-rhubarb jam (with a touch of orange)

This is adapted from a recipe for rhubarb-ginger jam from Bon Appetit from July, 1997. I’m so old skool.  The original recipe can be found here. It’s got slightly different ingredients in it (such as crystalized ginger instead of fresh, and lemon zest instead of orange).

Oooh, this makes about 1/2 cup of jam.  I made a conservative amount because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, plus I’m trying to save some of my rhubarb for some pies later this week. I think it could easily and successfully be made exponentially larger.

2 large healthy stalks of rhubarb (about 1/2 lb), sliced lengthwise, and then again into 1/2 inch pieces

1 Tbs fresh ginger root, minced

3/4 cup sugar

zest of one orange (about 1-2 tsp)

Toss everything together into a saucepan (I read that you should use a non-reactive pan whilst working with rhubarb, or things might go dreadfully wrong) over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then cook, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes, or until it gets really jammy.  

No, really, that’s all there is to it.  Amazing!  Now excuse me while I don my bonnet and eat my jam on some hardtack. Whatever that is.  

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8 responses

30 06 2009
TasteStopping

As much as we all, in this day and age, love our food and our cooking and our Cuisinarts, can you imagine what it would be like to spend the majority of everyday just trying to put meals on the table? That is the lesson I learned watching the PBS special series Frontier House. It exhausted me just thinking about all that preparation and–truly–hard work, just to get something edible made (let alone appetizing or artistic). And to get up the next day and have to start all over. Oy. I’m not sure I would have been a foodie if I had lived back then! :) Your jam, however, would have fit right in! So simple, so accessible, so delicious.

Anyway, I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.

Best,
Casey
Editor
http://www.tastestopping.wordpress.com

30 06 2009
Reginald @ Ceramic Canvas

yum!

i love rhubard and ginger. this looks delish.

especially, on a warm, buttered slice of toast.

i just made myself hungry. :)

30 06 2009
Rj H

Anyway it’s hard to feel too bad for the prairie folk as they seem to have been eating fried bacon on a near constant basis.

1 07 2009
tinaspins

Mmm, that looks great and the recipe seems easy to follow. Can’t wait to try it!

3 07 2009
Almond Butter « Sandwich Hoss

[…] with homemade rhubarb-ginger jam for a real treat, or straight from the container if you’re like […]

5 07 2009
christie133

Thanks for the comments! This was SO easy to make, I couldn’t believe it. Jam-making always seemed so mysterious to me.

Tastestopping is great, by the way. I’m so new to this whole “taking pictures” thing that I still have to put it in quotes. Hee hee. Which means that I have LOTS of imperfect-yet-not-awful pictures I could submit. :)

14 07 2009
stephchows

HI! Seriously beautiful pictures! I’m hosting a jam exchange this month and was wondering if you’d like to join in?? I’m trying to gather a whole bunch of people and all it takes is being willing to mail 2 jars of jam to someone. All the info to sign up is here: http://stephchows.blogspot.com/2009/07/jam-exchange.html

Hope you can join in!

3 08 2009
Strawberry-Plum Jam « Sandwich Hoss

[…] now… You might be thinking, “You made jam once before. I know because I read about it here. Why are you so worried? You SAID it turned out great.” I know! But that last foray into […]

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