While there isn’t much time for anything in between trips, I do try to squeeze in a smidge to process jam that we make on the boat. I’ll make a big batch there and then bring it home to process in a water bath. While it’s an effort to do it, I’m always so grateful in the middle of the winter that I was able to eek out the time.
This batch came from a bunch of Champagne that was open but left behind by a family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary. It happened to coincide with the rhubarb coming into full swing. The combination is a lovely one with the tang of the rhubarb softened slightly by the fruity Champagne. In any case, I love the color of it and it’s pretty special on our biscuits.
Rhubarb Champagne Jam
4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup champagne
1 box SureJell
1/2 teaspoon butter
6 1/2 cups sugar
Have all canning equipment and jars ready, sterilized and waiting in hot water.
In a medium stock pot bring the rhubarb and champagne to a boil. Add SureJell and bring to a boil again. Add the butter and the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to the hot canning jars. Screw the lids on hand tight and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars carefully from the hot water and set on a towel spread out over the counter top. Let cool. Make sure the lids all ‘pop’ before storing for the winter.
Makes 7 or 8, 8-ounce jars
We be jammin’
I have great memories of the rhubarb that grew near my early childhood home on the backside of the garage. It was the sunniest part of the yard and that’s why it was located there, but it was hidden from the rest of the house and it always felt a little bit enchanting back there. The warnings about the leaves being poisonous made it a little bit forbidden as well and although I never used the leaves for food, I used to love to suck on the stalks. The leaves were relegated to doll blankets, elf hats, skirts, fairy boats and other useful items.
This one reminds me of my grandma. She used to serve it with corn bread and sausage on one of those simple, comfort food nights.
4 cups diced rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 cup maple syrup (to taste)
In a medium stockpot, cook the rhubarb, sugar and cinnamon over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb has broken down. Add the maple syrup to taste and serve.
Makes 2 cups
1 cup yellow or white stone-ground corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 425°. Grease a cast iron skillet or 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Stir the corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the eggs into the well and stir lightly with wooden spoon; then add the buttermilk and milk. Stir quickly until almost combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the ingredients are just combined. Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and lightly cracked and the edges have pulled away from side of the pan, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for around 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm. Alternately, cool in the pan and serve directly from the pan for a more rustic look.
Makes 4-6 servings