Once a year, the boys head out for a Father-Son's campout with the other gents from our church. You'd think they would revel in roughing it, but instead they stay at a cabin, project sporting events on to a sheet, and eat prime rib, shrimp, dutch oven potatoes, and chocolate cream puffs. I'm not making this up. Cream puffs, people, cream puffs. It sounds so cush, I'm tempted to throw on a baseball cap, draw in a sharpie handlebar mustache and sneak in. Except that I always have a wonderful time at home with my little girl having our Mother Daughter weekend. I'm sorry to be so 1870's, but we made jam this year. OK-that isn't all we did-we also went out to dinner and spent hours and hours in Barnes and Noble. We didn't wear bonnets or churn butter, but we did make jam while the men folk were away. Truthfully, we would have made it if they were here, too. They would have helped us, since we are a liberated modern family, daggum it. Besides, this jam's a huge family favorite. The recipe hails from the Quiet Man's South Dakota Grandma Darland. I never cared much about jam, until we stopped on our cross country honeymoon road trip for a day or two on the farm. Grandma set out a jar of the bright red sticky stuff with breakfast. One smear later I was hooked. It shouldn't really be called jam-no, it's more like candy. I've made Grandma Darland's jam for many people with the same addictive results. It's got three ingredients-just rhubarb, sugar, and strawberry jello. The chopped rhubarb stands all night, soaking in syrup. After a quick boil, the strawberry jello thickens the jam without having to use pectin or Sure-Jell. You don't have to heat process it if you don't want to. Simply freeze it in pint jars until ready to use. But don't count on it lasting too long. Hurry up now, before spring rhubarb gets replaced with summer veggies.
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam
Estimated Cost: $5.00 for 3 pints
Tips: Look for rhubarb at the Farmer's Market for the best prices. I'm buying a rhubarb plant to make it even cheaper for next year.
3 cups sugar
5 cups chopped rhubarb
1 (3 ounce) box strawberry jello
Combine sugar and rhubarb in medium pot. Let stand overnight. Bring rhubarb mixture to a boil. Boil 12 minutes. Stir in jello. Process in jam jars, or freeze. Try a little stirred into plain Greek yogurt. Yum!
Ice Cream Tart