Here’s a recipe for rhubarb jam flavoured with juniper berries that bring a unique twist to this classic jam. This rhubarb jam recipe works well with frozen rhubarb too, if that’s all you’ve got!
So, I’ve been thinking.
I’ve been single for…. well, it’s been a long time. That’s one way to put it. And while I have days when I actually take the time to put together a meal for myself, for the most part, my goal is just to get food into my belly. Those days where I spend proper meal-prep time in the kitchen are few and far between. It’s rather pathetic. After doing lots of recipe testing for two upcoming cookbooks, which were also two reasons to make myself proper food, I noticed that most of the recipes were for foods and dishes that I had cooked for myself at some point, but never again. It’s like somewhere along the way, I lost that motivation to make myself a proper meal. I’m sorry. That probably sounds a bit sad, doesn’t it?
And to be honest, if it weren’t for my Instagram account, my meals would probably consist of all sorts of junk and nibbles, with a side of homemade cake and cookies. It’s funny, but Instagram has actually forced me to put more effort and more thought into cooking for myself, so I am thankful for that. Some people use Instagram to chronicle their pets or their children. I guess that I use it as a way to get me motivated to cook something that’s not a microwaved bowl of oatmeal with a side of fruit and nuts. Is that weird?
OK, fine, I do Instagram yogurt and cereal A LOT! And sometimes, it’s cereal on top of yogurt…
Friday, I made my first lasagna in 3 years! Three years! And I haven’t avoided lasagna-making because it’s hard. Lasagna isn’t difficult. It just takes time. It takes effort. And I guess at a certain point, I’ve started to feel like because it’s just me, why bother? Why spend an hour making myself a lasagna when I could just fry up an egg or two and eat it with toast. And why spend an hour if it’s going to take me 5 minutes to ingest it because eating alone is like an Olympic race?
As I stirred my rhubarb juniper jam, these were the thoughts that crossed my mind. See, I spend a lot of time thinking up recipes, working and baking for this blog. But I hardly ever do that just for me. It’s odd. The only time I really, selfishly make a recipe for me is when I make jam. I’ve made a fair bit of jam over the years, with different ingredients like apricot jam, jalapeño jam, spiced apple jam, plum jam with tea… Because I love jam and I wish jam were a food group so that I could better justify my jam consumption. I made this jam for me because I think rhubarb jam is the best, and in my head, rhubarb and juniper berries make sense together. So I just went for it because if there’s one thing I deserve to give myself, if I can’t always manage to make myself a home-cooked meal, it’s jars and jars of sweet, homemade jam.
Rhubarb jam without pectin
Rhubarb is low in pectin, and pectin contributes to jam set. This doesn’t mean that your rhubarb jam won’t set if you make a batch of rhubarb jam without pectin. But the fact that rhubarb is low in pectin does mean that you must make sure to hit the jam setting point, temperature wise. I make sure that every batch of jam sets properly by using a thermometer to check the temperature as it cooks: this way I know I’ve hit the jam setting point, ensuring that it will set when it cools! For jams, I aim to boil the mixture above 215 ºF (102 ºC). The wrinkle test or frozen plate test is another method you can use to ensure jam set. After all, nobody wants runny, watery jam! This is one of the best rhubarb recipes on this blog
Rhubarb jam recipe (without pectin) flavoured with juniper berries
This small batch rhubarb jam recipe is made without pectin and features canning instructions so you can preserve rhubarb jam throughout the winter. The jam is flavoured with juniper berries, but you can omit them if you prefer! Make sure to serve these with these super cute mini rhubarb scones or the strawberry rhubarb muffins. Use leftover rhubarb jam to make this bostock, which is slices of brioche toast smeared in rhubarb jam and topped with frangipane !
Rhubarb jam recipe with juniper berries
This easy rhubarb jam is flavoured with juniper berries for a beautiful way of preserving rhubarb without pectin (includes canning instructions). This way you can enjoy this rhubarb jam throughout the year.
- 860 g rhubarb about 8 to 9 stalks, chopped
- 750 g granulated sugar 3 3/4 cups
- 1.5 tsp juniper berries about 40 of them or 4 g, roughly chopped
- Have 4- or 5-250 mL jars and lids sterilized before hand. Keep the jars in a low heat oven and the lids in a small saucepan of simmering water.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large, deep pot. Cook the jam on medium–high to first dissolve the sugar and then boil.
- Skim the jam to remove foam as needed with a metal spoon. The jam will bubble up high in the pot and then eventually settle again. Continue cooking the jam until it reaches about 220ºF (the jam setting point).
- Divide the jam among the jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims clean, then cover with the lids, fingertight. If any of the jars aren't filled full, don't seal them. Instead you can cover them and enjoy them right away, storing in the fridge.
Seal the closed jars according to the manufacturers recommendations. I used Bernardin jars and I boiled my jam jars for 10 minutes to seal them.
- Let sit 24 hours undisturbed before storing them in the pantry.
I like to check the temperature of the jam as it cooks to ensure that the jam cooks to the jam setting temperature point and to make sure it sets properly in the end.
If you are looking for an awesome cookbook dedicated to homemade preserves, the Preservation Society book on preserves is my favourite and it's available on Amazon.
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University.