Simple Rhubarb Jam

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2 pounds rhubarb
3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or of ½ orange and ½ lemon

Wash, trim and dice the rhubarb. You will have about 8 cups.

In a large pot combine the rhubarb, sugar, and citrus juice and toss to mix. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a stockpot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath.

For a jam with some texture, set a colander over a bowl and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the colander.  Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened.  Add the rhubarb back to the pot, along with any juices that have collected in the bowl under the colander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and cook about 5 minutes longer.

For the smoother jam, cook the fruit with the juices over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Bring the water bath back to a boil. Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.

Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars for 10 minutes.

Transfer the jars from the pot and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed.  Store the sealed jam for 6 months to 2 years. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

Preservation Techniques

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Definition: Keeping Of perishable foods in a consumable form for a long period of time.

Dehydration: Draws moisture from the product and eliminates any medium for bacteria. Used for fruits, herbs, beans and other vegetables.

Alcohol: Alcohol kills active microorganisms. Used for fruit.

Sugar: Density of sugar retards the growth of enzymes due to a lower ratio of water. Usually 60% sugar in preserves. Used with fruit.

Liquid Cure / Brine: Submersion Of Food in a brine, an intense solution of water combined with salt and sometimes additional spices.

Pickling / Fermentation: Preserves Food by impregnating it with acid.  Vinegar is common and creates an environment that encourages fermentation. The item is generally precooked or soaked in a brine to draw out excess moisture.

Dry Cure / Salt: Surfaces are rubbed with salt and then left to cure. Usually a preliminary step to smoking, as are liquid cures.

Cold Smoking: Item is first cured, usually in a brine. Smoke is applied at a temperature bellow 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius). Product remains uncooked. Example Scottish smoked salmon.

Hot Smoking: Cooks the product with the heat of the smoke. Item is usually cured first. Chicken, turkey, pork and trout are often hot smoked.

Pasteurization: Rapidly cooling liquid that has been heated to 180 degrees. Primarily used for milk and cream.

Sterilization: The container is sterilized before it is filled. Filled container is then brought to a high temperature. Safe for long term storage. Primarily used for canning fruits and vegetables.

Refrigeration: Enzyme activity is slowed at 32-38 degrees. Humidity level must be controlled.

Freezing: Holding temperature must be below 0 degrees. Changes the texture of the thawed product due to water evaporation.

Quick Freezing: Products are immediately cooled to -40 degrees and held at -4 degrees.

Freeze Drying: Total elimination of all moisture, repeated freezing and dehydrating. Product does not require refrigeration. Used for coffee, potatoes.

Sealing & Coating: Confit is a classic example. Today it is used more for taste than preservation.

Vacuum Pack: aka cryovac.  Eliminates all air from a plastic bag or container.

Tomato Jam

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3 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
nutmeg

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Make an ice bath in a bowl with equal parts ice and water. Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove and submerge them in the ice bath to cool them.  Drain, then peel, halve, seed, and chop the tomatoes.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the sugar. Boil until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring often, until it is a dark brown color and very thick, around 20 minutes.

Transfer the jam to a blender, add the olive oil, and blend on high until smooth. Season with salt and 1 or 2 gratings of nutmeg.  Pour the jam into a clean pint canning jar, cover, let cool, and refrigerate.

The jam will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.