Tuesday, May 10, 2011

June is for Rhubarb!

 Rhubarb is a lovely plant with a strange but pleasant taste; kind of a tart citrus piece of wood, ha,ha, for some reason that comes to mind? The best part about rhubarb is that it waits for you every year with little fussing; unfortunately, the plant goes without appreciation that way.
Never the less, most people think that rhubarb as just a spring fling, the reason being, once we get in our gardens, we are done fooling around with the darn plant! But, did you know you can keep having rhubarb most of the summer if you cut the flower stems off? That's only if you can think of other ways to make rhubarb, and I can't think of any off hand.
It's just me and my husband, and I would never stop fooling around with him! So, I don't like to make huge batches of anything-just a little of everything ech-hem! Joie de vivre! Now that's how I came up with a combination of recipes Amish/English to make this wonderful jam recipe, and it is easier than having to fool around!

Andre's Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

 2 cups of ripe strawberries
1/2 cup of Rhubarb
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 pkg of strawberry jello (sugar free)

Wash strawberries, cut the tops off, chop into a 2 qt bowl. Wash rhubarb and strip the outside skin, cut and chop ( I prefer small red stems of rhubarb) add to the bowl. Add your sugar. Microwave for about 3 minutes-stir, microwave again for 3 minutes stir, give it one more minute in the microwave-stir. Take out wearing oven mits and place on a counter. Add lemon juice. stir. Then open the pkg of jello and sprinkle the surface-and quickly stir into fruit. Stir for about 2 minutes.
Have ready 3-4 pint jars and caps ready (sterilized) set on paper towels. Spoon the jam carefully into the jars. Place caps on top of jars. Let cool and PLACE IN THE FRIDGE. This is to use for the next few weeks not for storing in the cupboard. Enjoy on ice cream, toast and English muffins.

Another recipe that sounds pretty good:

Ruby Sauce
From Jill Valentine of Jackson, Tennessee. She writes, "Sweet, tart and absolutely the best sauce...you really have to try it on ribs, chicken or pulled pork!"

1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. allspice
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 onions, finely chopped
4 c. rhubarb, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients except onions and rhubarb in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; stir in onions and rhubarb. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour, until thickened and rhubarb is tender. Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Dandy Wine Recipe!

The recipe below call for 3 quarts of dandelion flower heads without any green stems per gallon of wine.
Of the recipe below, make sure that the white pith is taken off the fruit, in all citrus skins or it will ruin any wine.

Dandelion Wine

  • 3lbs sugar
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 3 qts dandelion flowers
  • 1 lb golden raisins
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • yeast and nutrient

Pick the flowers just before starting. You do not need to pick the petals off the flower heads, but the heads should be trimmed of any stalk. Put the flowers in a large bowl. Set aside 1 pint of water and bring the remainder to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the dandelion flowers and cover tightly with cloth or plastic wrap. Leave for two days, stirring twice daily. Do not exceed this time. 
Pour flowers and water in large pot and bring to a low boil. Add the sugar, honey and the peels (peel thinly and avoid any of the white pith) of the lemons and orange. Boil for one hour, add raisins at this point, let cool in the pot for one day, then pour into a crock or plastic pail. Add the juice and pulp of the lemons and orange. Allow to stand until cool (70-75 degrees F.). At this point you could add one more gallon of water, the results being a bit less sweet wine. Add yeast, cover, and put in a cool place for three days. 
Strain though a cheese cloth, and pour into a secondary fermentation vessel (bottle or jug). Leave until fermentation ceases completely, rack and bottle. This wine must age six months in the bottle before tasting, but will improve remarkably if allowed a year. This wine has a slight brandy over tone, and is great for a winter cold. 

Dandelion Jelly Recipe

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups dandelion blossoms (yellow and white parts only)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ( 1/2 package) powdered pectin
  • 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Bring water and dandelion blossoms to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, pressing solids. Discard blossoms. (You should have 3 cups of liquid; add water if necessary.)
  2. Combine pectin and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Bring dandelion liquid and remaining 4 cups sugar to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Add the pectin mixture, stirring constantly to dissolve pectin and sugar. Add lemon juice, and boil for 1 minute. Skim foam from the surface. Let cool slightly.
  3. Pour mixture into an airtight container. Cover with a lid. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Jelly can be refrigerated in the airtight container for up to 2 weeks.