We've come across some amazing recipes in search of a rhubarb dish to best honor this favorite spring plant. We narrowed it down to three final contenders -- Stacy Kaegi's Rhubarb Berry Pie, Jane Ward's Rhubarb Ginger Jam, and Ruth Ward's Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam -- we had a taste test to uncover the ultimate, the BEST, rhubarb recipe. (Click here to see a slideshow of all the recipes). And while all three were delicious in their own way, we still had to choose a winner.
And so, the winner of the tastiest rhubarb recipe (and Wusthof Classic Chai Dao knife) is ... Jane Ward's Rhubarb and Ginger Jam. Here's what some of our tasters thought of the winning recipe: "What a great example of the season! The ginger is at just the right level and has a nice and fruity taste thanks to the rhubarb. "Wow. I actually don't usually fawn over ginger but I think this is really a stand-out." "I've never had rhubarb and ginger together, but they're the perfect unexpected match. I'm going to be putting ginger in all my rhubarb desserts from now on."
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam Recipe
(makes six 8-ounce jars)
3 pounds of trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
Combine the rhubarb, two types of ginger, and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until jam thickens. Adjust heat accordingly to maintain a steady simmer and stir often during the thickening process to prevent scorching. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, skimming and discarding the foam that collects on the top of the mixture.
After 20 minutes, test for doneness. Turn off the heat under the jam and take the temperature of the fruit mixture using a candy/jelly thermometer. The thermometer should read about 220 degrees when the jam is done. Alternately, place a small spoonful of jam on a plate and place the plate in the freezer for 35-45 seconds. Remove the plate and run your finger over the top of the jam. The surface should "wrinkle" in your finger's wake. If it does, the jam is done.
Ladle the mixture into hot, sterilized 8-ounce jam jars leaving about 1/4-inch of space between the jam and rim of the jar. Cover with lids and rings and process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. The lids should vacuum seal shortly after removing the jars from the processing bath. If you do not hear the telltale "pop" of some or any of the lids, return the unfinished jars to the boiling water and process for an additional five minutes.
Place the sealed jars on the thickness of a kitchen towel and allow to rest and cool completely overnight. Preserves will keep for at least a year in the sealed jars if kept in a moderate temperature.
If you've got a great pie recipe up your sleeve, stay tuned for June's recipe contest: summer pie!
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