When I visited my family in Seattle last summer I discovered that my lovely and thoughtful mom saved me her last rhubarb harvest of the season because she knows how much I love it. I cut down the stalks on my way out of town and only got a couple of stares at the airport when I brought it back to New York with me, wrapped in newspaper and packed in my carry on luggage. Then, when I got home, I promptly shoved it to the back of my freezer and forgot about it for six months, as you do. Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was cleaning out my freezer and stumbled upon my glorious (albeit a bit freezer burnt) bounty. I knew it was time to use it up, so I pulled out my favorite jam cookbook and turned to a page I had dog-eared years ago, this rhubarb and kumquat jam. I realize that rhubarb may not be in season where you live, but maybe you have some in the freezer too? Or maybe you can bookmark this one for next year? If you are lucky enough to live in a magical place where rhubarb and kumquats (darn you California!) are in season at the same time you won't have to plan so far ahead to make this delicious late winter/early spring treat.
Rhubarb and Kumquat Jam
adapted from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
yield roughly 8, 8-ounce jars
The original recipe calls for only kumquats, but I had a pile of mandarinquats that needed using up so I added them in. They are a bit sweeter than kumquats, but still tart with soft and edible rinds.
3 1/2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds 14 ounces sugar
5 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 pound seeded tart kumquats or mandarinquats cut into thin rounds
Combine the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a large glass bowl or storage container. Stir gently to combine then cover tightly and let the mixture macerate for 24 hours at room temperature.
1. Transfer the now juicy rhubarb mixture into a large, non reactive pot or copper preserving pan. Add the sliced kumquats and stir well to dissolve any remaining sugar.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook the jam until it is thick and no longer watery 15-20 minutes. For the last 5-10 minutes stir the jam constantly to prevent scorching. Test the jam for doneness using the wrinkle test.
3. Ladle the jam into clean jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.