In the book, Laena McCarthy, the author and founder of artisanal preserves company Anarchy in a Jar, turns the conventional canning-is-hard-and-time-consuming perception on its head with her amazingly easy and knee-weakeningly sweet jam recipes. One of my favorites is McCarthy's rhubarb hibiscus jam recipe.
Rhubarb and Hibiscus Jam
Yields 5 (8-ounce) jars or 2 (1-pint) jars
For the jam:
- 3 pounds rhubarb (about 9 cups diced)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
For hibiscus simple syrup:
- 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
- To prepare the rhubarb, rinse and dice the rhubarb, taking care to use a sharp knife as the rhubarb is stringy and it takes a strong chop to separate.
- Transfer the rhubarb into a glass bowl or plastic food-safe Tupperware container and add the lemon juice and sugar.
- To make the simple syrup, in a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and hibiscus flowers to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the color is bright magenta, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Add hibiscus syrup to the rhubarb and stir well. Leave on the counter overnight or up to 48 hours so that the sugar and lemon juice are allow to help release the juice of the rhubarb.
- Measure the mixture into a 6- to 8-quart nonreactive pot and stir well.
- Wash and rinse the canning jars and put them in a large stockpot. Cover the jars with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to fill.
- Bring the lids and rings to a boil and turn off the heat. Let stand in the water until ready to screw them onto the jars.
- Place a few metal spoons in the freezer for testing the consistency and gel of yoru jam.
- To cook the rhubarb, bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Gradually reduce the heat if the jam starts to stick and scorch.
- Cook for 20 more minutes or until the jam is no longer watery and seems nicely thickened.
- Reduce heat to low and test for consistency. Place a teaspoon of hot jam on one of the prepped metal spoons. Place it back in the freezer with the jam still on it, for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the spoon and tilt spoon vertically. If it runs loosely like syrup, it's not done yet. If it glides slowly in a gloopy glob, it is ready.
- If it is still syrupy, bring it a to a boil again for 1 to 5 minutes to thicken.
- Process the jam in the canning jars in a boiling water bath for 6 minutes.
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