rhubarb jelly with lime and flor de jamaica

another month, another canning challenge. this is my second attempt at jelly-making and my first with pomona pectin. i am in love. talk about product performance-what a concept: this stuff delivers on it’s promise, which is to gel or set your mixture and not to add preservatives, additives or unneeded extra sweeteners. now, on to the jelly itself. this month’s challenge provided a choice between asparagus or rhubarb. since my last two canning choices were more of the savory variety, i decided on rhubarb.

now, i don’t what your experience with rhubarb is, but mine is nil. nada. nuttin’ doin’. never touch the stuff. actually, it kind of freaks me out. i mean, check out this creepy picture and tell me you won’t have haunting dreams tonight. i knew enough about it not to touch it while i was chopping it up; it stains everything it touches. being a nurse is handy as there are always a box of gloves hangin’ around for duties like this. as i was making pictures of it, i softened a bit toward it’s rugged good looks. the deep color and striations and such started to grow on me. i read sweet stories on the internets about fond memories of grandma handing her little ones raw rhubarb stalks dipped in sugar as a special springtime treat. all manner of people were baking it in pies and cobbler, stewing it to serve in a fool or with some delicious grilled or roasted meat product. these people must have known what they were doing, right? and no one was poisoned, once they figured out not to eat the leaves, right? right.

i followed pomona’s instructions for fruit ratio, pectin amounts, and the like. the flavor profile is way more hibiscus than rhubarb, most likely due to the fact that i did not get a whole lotta juice from those stingy stalks. i had to supplement much more with steeped hibiscus than i had initially planned. this beauty will most likely end up on my next cheese tray.

rhubarb jelly with lime and flor de jamaica (makes 7-8 half pint jars)

3 lbs rhubarb

a few large handfuls dried flor de jamaica (hibiscus flowers)

5 tbsp lime juice

2 1/2 c sugar

5 tsp calcium water

5 tsp pomona pectin

clean and chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch chunks, discarding any browned or leafy portions. (yes folks, the leaves are poisonous). place in a large pot with a cup or two of water and simmer until softened. add a large handful of hibiscus flowers during the last minute or so of cooking. the longer they steep, the darker the jelly will be. at this point, i whirled the mixture in the food processor but i wish i hadn’t. it became almost too thick to strain and i only got about a cup and a half of liquid through it. strain through multiple dampened layers of cheesecloth for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.resist the temptation to press on or push the liquid out. rumor has it that this will cause the jelly to become cloudy because, inevitably, some solids will end up getting through as well.

measure the amount of liquid strained and bring an amount of water that would bring this to a  total 5 cups. for example: my 1 1/2 cups of strained juice had me bringing 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil. add another large handful of hibiscus flowers to the boiling water for just about 30 seconds or so and strain through another few layers of cheesecloth. add this hot liquid to your juice. rinse out your pot, add the liquid, lime juice, and calcium water and bring to a boil. measure out your sugar into a bowl and add the pomona pectin, stirring well to combine. add the sugar and pectin to the boiling mixture all at once and stir for a minute or two until the pectin is well dissolved. bring mixture back to a boil and add additional sweetener if desired. if i had it to do all over again, i would have added some honey at this point to round out the sweetness.

ladle into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

i floated a few flowers on top  but most did not stay cenetered. i am ok with this.


Filed under condiment, fruit

31 responses to “rhubarb jelly with lime and flor de jamaica

  1. Wow! This sounds like a flavor profile I would love. How is the flavor? The color is gorgeous!

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      it is very hibiscus-y. and i’m not complaining. i love it with the lime. i just wish i hadn’t spent the 12 bucks on rhubarb when it is hardly detectable!

  2. Until recently, I didn’t realize rhubarb was a scary item for some folks. That might be because I’m one of those folks who grew up with the neighbor handing us a bushel of rhubarb and a mom who’d make pie and jam out of it. Yum!

    Either way, this sounds delicious, especially with the hibsicus as a flavor to balance the rhubarb.

  3. annie bananie

    I remember being 5 yrs. old and my mom making grape jelly. Bags of cheese cloth full of grape juice dripping from several cheese cloth bags were hung from the kitchen cabinet knobs. That was in the house in Batavia, New York. She had painted the dinning room chartreuse, a very wild color for 1945. It was the beginnings of my mom as a wild creative woman.

    Was your mama born in Batavia?
    —annie bananie

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      yes, she was born in batavia. i have a hard time picturing your mom making jelly or doing any domestic chores, but i’m glad to know she did things like that. and chartreuse? wow, that sounds more like her! thanks for this, beautiful auntie anne.

  4. I much prefer using natural pectin from apples and lemons instead…if you are going to use sugar in your jam, why not do that?

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      oh, i have. the last batch of jelly i made was entirely of homemade apple pectin. i am glad for the experience and fought the good fight to not use a commercial pection for the past year. and the jelly tasted like apples. and it wasn’t apple jelly. pomona pectin is a natural product made from citrus pectin. it is totally predictable, has no preservatives or additives. they sell it at whole foods, if that’s any indication of the tests it must pass to be truly ‘natural’. it is cheaper than buying pounds and pounds of organic green apples, too. give it a try!

  5. Great article, and such a gorgeous color.
    Re the creepy picture – I know. Those pictures of forced rhubarb are eerie I think.
    And, they say you can almost hear it growing.

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      oh. i will not be able to sleep alone for while after that comment. thanks for the kind words, too!

  6. I love Pomonas, too. I made a bunch of sugar free jellies last year (using just honey); yeah, it rocks.

    Love the lime infusion here!

  7. Looks tasty! I, too, am afraid of rhubarb! Thanks for the tip on Pomona – I’m going to try it out.

  8. This sounds amazingly good. I love floral. Beautiful pics as well!

  9. Mmm, rhubarb jelly, what a great idea! I took the lazy route with rhubarb jam. And your opening photo? Food porn at it’s finest.

  10. Mmmm. The pic is marvelous, and I love the name Flor de Jamaica for Hibiscus. I never knew that and it sounds so beautiful! Your jelly with those flavors on a cheese plate sounds incredibly delicious. Nice work!

  11. Stringy or not, the color is gawgeous! I want some for my baguette and coffee this morning. 😉

  12. I was late-comer to rhubarb, but now I love it. This sounds like a winner of a jelly, and I love the color!

  13. The color of the jelly is awesome. I wonder how the combination of rhubarb and hibiscus tastes like – I have NO idea! It’s new to me that rhubarb stains when you chop it. Hmm, do we have different rhubarb in Germany? I touch it without gloves all the time when chopping it and haven’t had any problems with stains…

    • thecosmiccowgirl

      my white kitchen sink and fingernails stained when i started chopping it…maybe it’s just me?

      • My rhubarb doesn’t stain either, but you might have a very red strain? Hibiscus is dangerous though, it will dye anything in its sight bright ruby red.

  14. I’m not 100% convinced you’re ok with the off-center flor. I’m just sayin’ ;-))
    ❤ you,

  15. anabela pereira

    rhubarb it´s delicous, lovely 😉

  16. I was going to ask what pomona pectin is, but then I read the comments. Now I must go to Whole Paycheck and find me some – though I never thought of that as a place to find canning stuff. Your photos are gorgeous – some of you people may actually get me to give rhubarb another chance. :-))

  17. annie bananie

    that last post referred to a “fancy” chain grocery store as ‘whole paycheck’ …how interesting in a cultural-anthropological-way that’s what we call that same store here on the west coast: whole paycheck.
    yours in the redwoods, a

  18. Love rhubarb–even if it’s “night of the living dead” rhubarb! And Pomona’s rules. I’m a big fan of jelly and this one does not disappoint. I’ve also recently become a fan of hibiscus. God, that color is stunning!

  19. Ha! I heard the same “when i was a kid” love stories about rhubarb from anyone I told about the crisp recipe. Not sure how we both missed out as kids- and now that we’ve traded states, we are bringing it back for everyone!

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