Walking through the garden on an early Summer morning, my feet wet from the morning dew and my skin being kissed by the morning sun, I made my way to our strawberry patches.
There’s just something about picking strawberries fresh from the strawberry patches that evokes childhood memories and innocence. I often feel as though I’m transported back to when I was a child and going strawberry picking with my family at the Pick Your Own strawberry farm we used to go to when I lived in the outskirts of Montreal. Who would have thought that I’d be picking strawberries on our own farm? Certainly not I!
There’s nothing as sweet as fresh homegrown berries. The sweet, juicy berries are perfect for breakfast. Put them in smoothies, yogurt, with granola, in crepes, on pancakes or waffles, or eat them on their own. With the bounty of strawberries, we also make lots of strawberry jam!
I had anticipated making strawberry jam earlier on, however, we are a few weeks behind our friends in Southern Ontario when it comes to strawberry production. Our growing season is a few weeks behind because of our growing conditions here in Northern Ontario. The past few weeks we’ve finally been able to pick lots of these ruby red beauties!
Since we had lots of rhubarb on our farm, Hubby wanted me to make his favourite combination: Strawberry-Rhubarb. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam for the husband. I’ve also been substituting granulated sugar with maple syrup from our farm or local Manitoulin honey.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam with Maple Syrup
Yields: 5-6 cups
NOTE: The consistency of this jam is a bit runnier than what most are accustomed to, but once the jam has been refrigerated, it thickens and “sets” because I used maple syrup instead of granulated sugar and no pectin.
- 5 cups strawberries
- 3 cups, cleaned and chopped
- *1 cup maple syrup or local honey
- 1 large pot
- Large spoons and ladles
- 1 Canner (or a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling)
- Bernardin jars (Available at most grocery stores as well as some big box stores . You can find them at Canadian Tire for about $8 per dozen 500 ml jars including the lids and rings)
- Lids – thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings – metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Jar funnel ($4,99 at Canadian Tire, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online or as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them. It’s a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out. The Bernardin Home Canning Starter Kit below has everything you need.
- Place strawberries and rhubarb in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and let cook until rhubarb is soft. While strawberry and rhubarb cook, mash them with a potato masher until most of the fruit is mashed. I like to make sure there are some chunks for texture. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender to blend the the fruit while it cooks. Just blend it until completely smooth, or leave some of it chunky if you prefer more texture.
- Once fruit is soft, return to a boil, then add maple syrup and whisk.
- Remove from heat. Immediately transfer fruit mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place on lid and screw on band finger-tight, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. I find that if you have the Bernardin Home Canning Starter Kit, it makes canning/processing easy and simple.
- Remove from water bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours before checking seal. Label jars, store in a dark place, and consume within 12 months. If jars did not seal, refrigerate and consume within 2-3 weeks, or you can freeze them for up to 6 months.* Maple syrup or local honey work well in this Strawberry Rhubarb Jam recipe, however, you won’t get as good of a “set” as you would if you use granulated sugar.
I didn’t use granulated sugar or pectin in this recipe. When I use pectin, I use Bernardin’s No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin since Little One likes her jam really set well. My six year old always tells me that “jam needs to always be set, not runny. Not even a little bit runny!” In all fairness, the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with maple syrup is not runny, but it’s not as thick as if it had sugar or pectin. We have differing tastes since I don’t like my jams and jellies too gel-like and Little One does. There’s a happy medium and I find that when I use Bernardin’s No Sugar Needed Pectin, I’m able to achieve that happy medium. You can have a lovely jam or jelly without sugar, with sugar or with sweetener or honey with the No Sugar Needed Pectin.
Bernardin has a fabulous Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam recipe on the Bernardin website!
I also like Bernardin’s Liquid Pectin. You can achieve luscious, thick, quick jams and jellies with the Liquid Pectin because it’s pre-dissolved for quick and easy preparation.
If you’re a freezer jam fan, there’s also Bernardin’s Freezer Jam Pectin.
If you’re a beginner to canning, make sure to check out Bernardin’s great tips and recipes, and all things mason jar and canning related! Follow Bernardin on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow the #BernardinApproved #CanadaCans hashtags!
Disclosure – Life on Manitoulin received products from Bernardin, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.