Strawberry Rhubarb Marmalade - a quick and easy small batch jam. Just enough for you and a friend.
This is my happy place. No agenda. No deadlines and no hungry kids asking when dinner will be ready.
It's very likely, I will not make dinner today.
I made homemade jam today. What else do you want from me?
I love this marmalade because it is sweet, yet fresh tasting. Marmalade can be a bit bitter, but his one is just bright. Just enough strawberry to taste the strawberry. Fresh rhubarb flavour with a under current of bright citrus. Lovely on a thin rice cracker with almond butter. But you decide how you like your jam.
If you are not a big fan of marmalade... marmalade is a funny thing. You either love it or hate it. You might want to give this one a try. The strawberry rhubarb marmalade is more jam than marmalade. More strawberry-rhubarb, than orange. Also one of my favourite easy, no-pectin needed recipes. So, as long as you have some basic equipment, you can get this done on a Saturday afternoon. An easy and quick recipe, at least in terms of home jam making. And a good place for a beginner home canner to start.
Small Batch Canning
Home canning is very different for me than it was for my grandma. When Grandma canned it was necessary and economical. The focus was on efficiency. Using up what the garden provided. Large batches. Full day canning sessions. Rows and rows of jars.
Home canning for me has nothing to do with being economical or efficient. Mostly, it's about wasting time in the kitchen. 🙂 I don't have much of a garden. At best, I may need a way to use what comes in the weekly veggie delivery bin.
I kinda love how I feel like a scientist when I'm making a batch of jam. I want to see what happens if I add some strawberries to my rhubarb. Can I get away without adding pectin? What if I add some vanilla or spice?
My biggest fault .. okay, maybe not my biggest fault, but if we are only talking about this very thing... . ...when it comes to home canning atleast... I tend to get overly ambitious. I have so many ideas, so many things I want to try. I have so many jars of stuff as it is.
Small batches are best for me. A must really. No major commitments. I can try new things, and if I don't like it, it's not a major loss. I have variety stashed in my pantry. And I really don't have to plan that far ahead. I can pull together a batch of jam in a Saturday afternoon as long as I have a few empty jars.
i think my grandma would near faint if she saw that I went through the trouble of canning just 3 small jars of jam.
Notes for my Strawberry Rhubarb Marmalade
As I said, this is a very small batch jam. I got just about 3 and ½ cups... or 3 250ml jars and the bit extra you see in this 125ml jar in the pictures. If you want to double, double everything. This recipe doubles nicely, and I would still call it a small batch. I think Strawberry Rhubarb Marmalade would make welcomed Christmas gifts.
You won't need a package pectin for this recipe. This is a marmalade, not a jam. The orange has it's own pectin. Here I've just taken a supermarket orange - a navel orange - and blitzed it in the food processer to chop it up. The whole thing... rind and all. Pick out the seeds before hand if you can, otherwise they will end up in the final jam.
Orange rind gives this spread the typcial marmalade texture. But it is not overly bitter. I find just a bright fresh citrus undertone. The rhubarb and the strawberry flavours really shine through.
Yes - the orange seeds add extra pectin.You might see in other marmalade recipes that you need to keep the seeds in a cheesecloth while the marmalade cooks. Or even soak them overnight. Completely not necessary for this recipe. This is a simple marmalade recipe. Done in about an hour. No soaking overnight needed. It's really just an easy jam recipe for someone new to home canning.
About sterilizing the jars and other canning equipment:
To sterlize the jars:
- wash them well with hot soapy water, rinse and dry. You can sterilize the jars by placing them in a 225 degree oven for at least 10 minutes. I get the jars in the oven after I've got the marmalade at the simmering stage. it’s okay for the jars to hang out in the hot oven until you are ready for them. This is my prefered method.
- You can also sterlize the jars if you have a santize function on your dishwasher.
- Or by placing them in the canning kettle, with water about ⅔s the way up the sides of the jars and bringing them to a boil for a few minutes.
Gear you need:
- small heat proof bowl to cover the seals with hot boiling water.
- tongs to pick up the seals from the hot water
- a canning kit is helpful but not essential. They are relatively inexpensive and some kits come with tools you can do without – but they come with this little stick with a magnet at the end specifically for fishing the seals out of the hot water.
- oven mitts
- tea towels – you will need more than you think
- deep stainless steel pot for cooking the fruit jam. I find for most small batches that I do, my 4 quart, high-sided saute pan works just fine. For bigger batches, I will use a stockpot. You can get specialty jam pots, like this one if you want to get fancy or make larger batches.
- long wooden spoon
- a jar funnel is useful for getting the jam into the jars without making a mess of the rims – see kit above
- a ladle for filling the jars
- Use new seals. Obviously, jars and rings (also called bands or “hands”) can be reused, they just need to be cleaned, see above
- Have ready a kettle of boiling water – as in a tea kettle When the time comes you will want to let the seals sit in hot water for a few minutes before filling and sealing the jars.
- Canning kettle - or a deep heavy pot that will hold the jars totally submerged with at least 1 inch of water above the lids. You don't necessarily need a canning rack for inside the pot. It can be helpful for lifting the filled jars in and out of the hot water, but the jar lifter that comes with the kit also works.
My basic set up is very similar to this, a simple enamal canning pot with rack and a few extra tools.
You might want to invest in a heavy duty stockpot that will serve as a canner, and useful for other things as well, something like this:
One of my favourite recipe books for inspiration:
Strawberry Rhubarb Marmalade
- 1 large orange
- 3 cups chopped rhubarb stems
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 3 cups white sugar
- pinch of salt
- Cut orange into eight pieces, peel included, and chop finely in a food processor. Transfer to a large, deep sauce pan. Add rhubarb, strawberries and sugar. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a hard boil. Boil hard for one full minute, stirring constantly. It will take some time to come up to hard boil and the sugar will disolve as it gets there. A hard boil cannot be stirred down. After one full minute, reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour or until marmalade has acheived a proper set.
To test marmalade for set:
- Keep a small plate in the freezer. To test if your marmalade has reach a proper set or gel stage, drop a small spoonful of the hot marmalade onto the frozen plate. It is set when it holds it shape and does not smooth out or run down the plate.
How to process for long term storage:
- Ladle marmalade into sterlized jars. Fill one jar at a time. Leave ¼ inch head space with each jar. Secure the lids and rings. Tighten only finger-tip tight.
- Process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.
- Allow jars to cool completely before checking for seals. Store for up to a year.
Short term storage alternative:
- If you don't want to keep marmalade for long term, ladle into clean, sterlized jars and secure lids and rings. Allow to cool completely then store in the refrigerator for several weeks.