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Make New Habits, but Keep the Old

June 05 2008 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Spread » 11 comments

I have what one might call a slight magazine problem. I like them. A lot. Too much, really. I suppose it’s not that surprising, seeing as though I was a journalism major in college, with a magazine concentration. The food magazine problem, in particular, has gotten a little out of hand. There are piles of them all over our place, bookmarked, dogeared, stained and all around loved. (It must run in the family: my parents have a collection of back issues of Gourmet that makes my knees go weak.) I have a kind of ritual for savoring my food magazines: I like to read them cover to cover, getting lost in menus and grocery lists and serious armchair cooking along the way.

But I’ve made an exception to this tried-and-true routine lately for Bon Appetit. For the past few months, I do not pass go, I proceed directly to the column authored by Orangette‘s Molly Wizenberg. Without fail, I’m transported by her story and convinced to make something—a savory souffle, fresh mayonnaise, homemade sausage patties—that I had never before dreamed or dared to make. Like clockwork, it happened again this month. Molly spun a story that had me determined to make jam.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

I should probably mention that I don’t even really like jam. The door of our refrigerator is jam (ha)-packed, but there is nary a jar of jam or jelly or preserves or the like. So I was a little apprehensive about making several jarfuls of jam, thinking I’d be eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, I planned to use my jam—strawberry-rhubarb flavored—in another recipe (more on that tomorrow!). Really, I just kind of wanted to make the jam.

And the making part was so fun: the slowly macerating fruit, the frothy pink pot of stewing fruit, the play-with-your-food test to ensure the jam had gelled. It all felt a little Frontier Woman, too, like I was getting ready to stock the larder (even though I completely didn’t even attempt the whole canning business). But I expected all this. I didn’t expect to fall head over heals in love with the jam itself. Let’s just say that I had to tap into my will power reserves to make sure I saved the cup and a half of jam for its original purpose (tomorrow, tomorrow: I promise). I’m now officially a jam lover and I can’t wait to see what Molly’s got up her sleeve next month. I foresee a new jam habit accompanying my old magazine habit.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg via Bon Appetit

1 16-ounce container strawberries, trimmed and chopped
3 to 4 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Put 2 saucers in freezer.

Transfer fruit mixture to large saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Mash to thick puree with potato masher.* Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until mixture begins to thicken, stirring often, about 18 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat to test jam for gelling point. Drop 1 teaspoonful jam on chilled saucer and return to freezer 1 minute. Remove saucer and push edge of jam with fingertip. If jam has properly gelled, surface will gently wrinkle. If not, return saucepan to heat and cook jam a few minutes longer; repeat test.

Ladle the hot jam into clean jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.**

* I used my immersion blender here, as the rhubarb didn’t seem to yield to the masher.
** Good luck with making it last two weeks. You’ll see.

11 comments so far. »
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  1. Katie says on June 05 2008 at 8:06 am:

    Too funny! Molly’s articles have the same effect on me. I haven’t eaten jam in ages, but I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making it since I read about it in Bon Apetite. Thanks for the post! Now I’m twice as excited…

  2. Steph says on June 05 2008 at 10:14 am:

    I seem to have the same problem. I need to buy a seperate bookcase just for my magazines!

  3. Sarah Bell says on June 05 2008 at 10:41 am:

    I get five food magazines a month! I love to look through them to get inspiration, then I forget which magazine the recipes I really liked were in. I tried cataloging them but then I couldn’t be bothered looking through 200 back issues when I wanted to cook something for a dinner party. So essentially I look at them for the pictures and make the odd recipe out of them, I can’t quit my habit, but at least I admit I have a problem. ;-)

  4. parsnipsaplenty says on June 05 2008 at 11:33 am:

    Food magazines are never a problem. I don’t think “glut”… I think “bonus.” :) I love the sense you hone after awhile for the better recipes. And making preserves is way fun – you feel so productive! You’re now that much closer to being prepared for the hard winter ahead, haha.

  5. hiphostess says on June 05 2008 at 1:19 pm:

    I too share the magazine hording habit! Nice to hear there are others out there (I am endlessly teased by friends and family for my collection). The jam looks great.

  6. C says on June 05 2008 at 2:37 pm:

    For my magazines I flag them but I also write down recipes I want to try on a piece of paper with the magazine name/month/page number and tack them to my bulletin board and on the days when I’m at a loss for what to cook – scan down the list and pick something off.

  7. Dana says on June 05 2008 at 7:09 pm:

    I have the same magazine problem! I wait all month for them to arrive, checking the mailbox anxiously, read them cover to cover in one sitting and become impatient for the next issue. As a concession to my boyfriend (gasping beneath the piles!), I now keep them for a year, save any recipes I like on my computer, and reread (and sadly dispose of) last years issue shortly after devouring the new one.

    I also fell in love with Molly’s jam recipe. I am determined I will conquer my fear of botulism and tackle some canning projects. Jam is first on the list!

  8. Dana says on June 06 2008 at 7:25 am:

    I have the same problem with food magazines…and cookbooks… It’s getting ridiculous. And I, too, saw this recipe and am dying to try it. Soon!

  9. marie says on July 11 2008 at 8:22 am:

    The jam looks heavenly! I loved making this with my mom using fresh rhubarb from our garden. Did you use wax to preserve the preserves (ha ha ha)? i saw some at the grocery store next to the canning supplies, and wasn’t sure if i should buy it for when i make the jam.

  10. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on July 12 2008 at 6:28 am:

    marie: I didn’t use anything to preserve the preserves (ha). I just put it in a jar and it kept in the fridge for at least a couple weeks (at which time, it was all gone!). But there are canning instructions in Molly’s original recipe: here.

  11. Paola says on May 12 2010 at 11:33 pm:

    Wow thank you so much for posting this recipe! It brings back memories of this jam that I once bought in WF that contained rhubarb lemon and angelica- delicious! Anyways I was wondering if you could perhaps tell me how many standard sized jars this recipe calls for? This would be omitting the strawberries since they’re way to expensive for a student such as myself :P
    thanks! kind regards

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