These are glorious days. We've had lots of rain (too much, some would say). The earth is warm and all the gardens, along with their weeds, are growing with wild abandon. When I'm outside with the baby, I give up on getting any work done. He runs for the road as often as not, cackling with joy as his strong little legs carry him towards disaster. I am constantly scooping him up and taking him to safety.
When I do get outside alone to garden, the task is daunting. I'm just chipping away, doing what I can.
I moved this Strawberry Rhubarb plant to the big garden. It's a delicate variety and it won't take over. In fact, it needs a fair amount of fertilizing in order to thrive. I harvested a bit of it and added it to the bigger stalks of rhubarb that my mom gave me.
Here in Minnesota, rhubarb should be free. It slays me when I see it for sale at the grocery store. Surely a neighbor or a friend has rhubarb to share. If not, plant some, quick, and you'll enjoy it forever. It freezes beautifully, so it can be enjoyed all year long.
I wasn't going to make jam this year, but with the rhubarb from my mom, I had so much that I decided to whip up a quick double batch. This recipe is shameful, full of sugar, and ridiculously easy. I got six jars of jam for under $5.00, so I figured that came to about 85 cents per jar. This week we are living on hot buttered toast with jam. It's delicious and summery, piquant and bright. There's nothing in the world like the taste of rhubarb.
6 cups finely chopped rhubarb
3 cups sugar (I used scant cups and it turned out fine)
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
Combine above ingredients in a large pot, stirring, and cook on medium heat. Cook for at least one hour, turning heat down if mixture starts to boil too much.
After one hour, turn off heat and add:
1 pkg. raspberry Jello (with sugar)
Stir well till all the Jello is incorporated.
Pour into jars and seal.
(I don't seal my jars, but keep half the jars in the frig, since we eat it up so quickly, and the other half in the freezer).
In other rhubarb news, today I'm making the Pie Bars for a grad party tomorrow. If you haven't made them, I promise you, they are beyond delicious. We decided it's because they are more like lemon bars with rhubarb. So in other words, the best, most original lemon bars we've ever tasted. Here is the link.