Sweet-and-Savory Rhubarb Jam

I just wanted to start today by congratulating The Bitten Word and other winners and finalists in the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards.Β  I am thrilled just to have been on the same page as so many talented and established cooks, writers, and photographers.

Getting back to food…I started flipping out when rhubarb season began. And then I flipped out some more when I found this recipe for rhubarb jam.

There were a number of rhubarb recipes in my books, but this jam, from “Eldress Gertrude Soule of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village” (in The Best of Shaker Cooking, of course) really caught my eye. Mostly because I was thinking, onion? Really?

Onion, along with apples and raisins, adds depth to this jam. The rhubarb itself – with the help of a spiced vinegar syrup – brings in a lovely tang that complements the sweetness of the fruit.

Here you see salt, pepper, ginger, and allspice being added. An odd mix of “sweet” and “savory” seasonings, for sure. This is the general theme of this jam: it has one foot in dinner and the other in dessert.

All these ingredients are simmered. For hours and hours. Until the fruits all break down and caramelize and the vinegar sourness cooks off. And the result looks kind of nasty.

But, I promise it tastes awesome! I’ve tried eating it with sausage on English muffins for breakfast, using it as a glaze for shrimp, pairing it with goat cheese…and just slathering it on bread and going to town. It’s so, so good. And so, so simple to make.

Sweet-and-Savory Rhubarb Jam (Makes 2 pints)
8 oz. raisins
2 small onions, peeled and chopped fine
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. grantulated sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 c. white vinegar
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. ground ginger
4 c. chopped rhubarb (in 1/2-inch pieces)
1 c. finely chopped peeled, cored apples

1. Pulse the onions and raisins in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
2. Bring the sugar, molasses, vinegar, salt, pepper, and spices to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Lower the syrup down to a slight simmer and add the raisins, onion, rhubarb, and apples. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 hours. The resulting mixture should be dark brown and gluey, and most of the vinegar tang should have cooked off.
4. Seal in sterilized glass jars.