Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canning 2: Strawberries-Rhubarb-Lavender Preserve

It's that time of year to make my supply of Strawberries-Rhubarb Preserve, just when Strawberries and rhubarb are at their seasonal peak. It's awesome in PB and J sandwiches, toast, with pork loin and as gift or hostess giveaway.

(Wikipedia) Strawberries are widely appreciated, mainly for its characteristic aroma but also for its bright red color and it is consumed in large quantities - either fresh or in prepared foods such as preserves, fruit juices, pies, ice creams, milk shakes" and frosting -- I can resist to throw that in the list, he-he.

The rhubarb, however, is something most of us do not work with. "The slender pink stalks of the Rhubarb are considered vegetable botanically (they are in the buckwheat family and related to sorrel), rhubarb taste best cooked like a fruit. It's bracing tartness is delicious when tamed with sugar during cooking." (Bon Appetit, April 2010)

This particular recipe was a hit with my cooking group when we made "preserves" last year. I am adding some lavender this year, just 'cause I love lavender in my food! And oh, as prep, you need to know the proper way of sterilizing canning jars.

Strawberries-Rhubarb-Lavender Preserve

4 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
8 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
8 cups sugar, granulated
2 T organic lavender flowers

Sprinkle the pieces of rhubarb with sugar, let it sit overnight. Transfer to a pot (avoid using stainless steel), add the lavender and bring to a boil. Add the strawberries, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, skimming the scum that floats on top every now and then. Bottle and seal in sterilized jars.

Be mindful of the headspace to allow the expansion of food solids and/or
the bubbling up of liquid during processing.

Handle jars carefully before and after processing. Cool jars for 12-24 hours then test the seal by removing the screwband and pressing the middle of the lid with a finger. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed.

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