I upgraded my phone in an attempt to keep up with my kids and when I did the Bluetooth needed to be reconnected in my car, something that was above my pay grade. I went back to the phone store and asked the phone guy if he could help, "Sure enough little lady!" he said, and the next thing I know he was in my car pushing buttons. I watched him, thinking I could learn a thing or two, I did not, his fingers were flying fast and furious from my phone to the car dashboard...it's was all to much for me! The phone man was probably in his mid 30's, and he was very nicely dressed and easy on the eyes...it was hard not to notice as he was in my car! And, it could have been my imagination, but I do believe the phone man was flirting with me just a bit...so with my nicest smile, I thanked the phone man as got out of my car...he turned around and said, "You are welcome! I help my mom and my grandma all the time so I'm used to helping older people!" Mom!! Grandma!!! Older People?!?!?!? Whaaaaaa!!!! Fine, I am probably be old enough to be his mom but I am definitely NOT old enough to be his granny! I've been licking my wounds for days...
With rhubarb, you either love it or hate it...I happen to love it - it's one of the best things about Spring! I'm always looking for new ways to use rhubarb, but here are some of my favorite old ways:
Rhubarb jam could not be easier to make and there's no need for any pectin with this recipe! So if you've got rhubarb, (which everyone I know grows in their yard but me because I can't grow anything but moss!) sugar and water, you're ready to make jam!
The plate-in-the-freezer-method is my favorite way to make jam...if you can run your finger through a bit of jam on an ice-cold plate and the jam holds it's shape, then it's done - how simple is that?! This recipe only makes a small batch, which is plenty for me, and I processed the jars so they'll last for up to a year - or in my case, about a month!
Rhubarb Jam - Adapted From Leite's Culinaria
4 lbs. rhubarb, trimmed, rinsed and cut into small chunks, about 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 to 2 drops red food coloring - (I didn't add any food coloring, but if you want more of a red color, go ahead and add some)
1 lemon, halved and juiced, seeds reserved in a cheesecloth pouch or tea ball (the seeds are what help thicken the jam - natural pectin!)
Sterilize your jars by boiling them and their lids (or run them through the dishwasher.) Place a small plate in the freezer. Place the fruit, sugar, water and lemon juice and the spent lemon halves and seeds in a cheesecloth pouch, in a large bowl and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Pour the contents of the bowl into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface as the jam cooks.
Drop the heat to medium and continue to cook with the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn't scorched at the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if your jam has set by placing a small spoonful of jam on the plate from the freezer. The rhubarb jam is set when it holds its shape on the cold plate. If it seems too loose, continue cooking over medium-low heat until set. Remove the seed bag and the lemon halves. Place the rhubarb jam in sterilized jars, filling them 1/2-inch from the top. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a clean damp towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes, if using half-pint or pint jars, 10 minutes if using quart jars. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter. Makes about 8 pints.
Thanks to Megan, Julie and Joni for the rhubarb!! The stores around here still have rhubarb, but don't wait too long or it will be gone!