Sunday, 22 December 2013

Rhubarb and strawberry jam and decorating the tree(s)

It is pleasing to rise in the morning to eat homemade rhubarb and strawberry jam on homemade sourdough bread before decorating a Christmas tree or two.  It doesn't mean that you will arrive at the right scout hall to buy a tree or that some of the family wont skulk away to watch the cricket but it does mean you started the day right.

I made the jam on a whim.  Sylvia wanted plums.  I thought of making plum jam.  However it was the recent strawberry jam from a fete that drew my eye to the strawberries.  Then I saw rhubarb.  That was it.

I didn't know how to make my jam.  I searched the web and adjusted a recipe to what I had.  I liked the blog post about the recipe showing how burnt jam could be if I didn't stir regularly.  It was a good lesson.  I stirred it a lot.

I am getting the hang of sterilising jars.  The jam didn't seem as difficult as it has in the past.  Hurrah for blog notes that I can refer to so I remember what I did last time.  It is a soft jam that doesn't set firm.  Apparently that is the way of strawberries.

And like that I had 5 jars of jam, a batch of mince tarts and a loaf of sourdough bread.  A domestic goddess moment!  I felt good last Saturday about getting up to jam, bread and trees.  We picked up our tree from the scouts once I had found the right hall.  At home, we set it up and then I left it to go to my parents to help decorate their tree.

My mum and dad;s tree is far bigger than ours.  At our house, the decorating is my job.  At my parents' it is my dad's job.  He had to choose the tree, set it up and put on the lights before real decorating can begin.  Dad worried there weren't enough lights.  Then the tinsel got lost.  My mum told us not to overload the tree.  Then she said it didn't have enough decorations.  My sister visiting from Ireland said she didn't remember it being this way.

Meanwhile Sylvia danced with tinsel, my dad lifted Dash to put a decoration on the highest branch, baby Stella wanted to play with the decorations and Ashy took her job of decorating very seriously.  I particularly loved the angel with the big stick next to James Joyce on the tree.  Later on I read on Facebook that my brother and his little boy were in the front room watching the cricket.

We came home to our naked little tree.  As we opened up the boxes of decorations, my neighbour and her little boy arrived with a present for Sylvia.  They stayed to help decorate the tree.  Paula told me about tree trimming parties.  I felt we had our own little impromptu party.

I had a go at wrapping the jam for presents.  (You might notice on the label that I was unsure what to call it!)  Then I gave it to my parents.  I have heard they are enjoying it.  So are we.  It seems silly to say it tastes fresh and fruity.  That is how jam should taste.  Yet there are too many around that don't taste that way at all.  This jam is amazingly good.

It makes me think I should make jam more! Especially when it comes to gift giving.  For 'tis the season!  Hope your Christmas preparations are coming along well (or at least better than my gingerbread house in progress)!

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior
I am sending this recipe to Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays which features made from scratch recipes.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago:
Chocolate gingernut truffles and other Christmas reflections
Two years ago: WSC Fruitcake with Chocolate II and our tree
Three years ago: Cinnamon Stars for Christmas
Four years ago: Glögi by the tree
Five years ago: Coconut ice is very very nice
Six years ago: Christmas Snowflake Biscuits

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

3 cups rhubarb (weight trimmed: 350g)
4 cups strawberries (weight unhulled: 750g)
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Trim and chop fruit and place with remaining ingredients into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boilb over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until there is a jam-like consistency.  Stir frequently while it is simmering.  Don't worry about the froth as this disappeared once jam was ready.

While jam is simmering, sterilise your jars and lids.  I bake mine for 30 minutes in the oven at 150 C and boiled the lids on the stovetop for 10 minutes, then dried them on a rack.  I find it easy to put all the jars in a roasting dish so I am not having to handle them invidually.

During this time, place a saucer in the freezer to cool. To test place a small blob on the cool saucer so that the jam cools quickly. Once the jam is cool, draw a finger through the blob and if the line between the blog stays clear it is done.  This jam doesn't set into a firm consistency.

When jam is ready, pour into prepared jars (I used a funnel and spoon to do this).  Screw on lids tightly (using rubber gloves if jars and lids are still hot).  Cool and use or keep in a cool place.

Makes about 5 jars (about 1 cup per jar).

On the stereo:
Winter Songs: The Albion Christmas Band

4 comments:

  1. You are such a domestic goddess! Hats off to you to be able to do that in one morning! :D

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  2. Great looking jam - I think this would be a lovely present.

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  3. Domestic goddess indeed Johanna! What a productive kitchen you've had, and your jam sounds gorgeous - the sort that would make me switch from my standard breakfast to a toast and jam one. I like that you got real trees too and decorated them with family and friends. Growing up we always got cut trees, but somewhere in the last few years my parents switched to the artificial type, and our place is too small for a big tree really. One day I'll go back to the real thing, and perhaps whip up some jam batches to round things off ;)

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  4. Trimming the tree! From buying the right tree to where each decoration should be placed, it's a business, isn't it. My parents used to let me and my four sisters decorate the tree but then when we went to bed they would 'fix it'. Merry Christmas to you and all your family and may it be your best ever xx

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