Do you know how disappointed I am that my jam turned into bubble gum soup?

Posted on May 13, 2011


Hey, great news… check out my update on this jam in my next post “How come you didn’t cook that Strawberry Rhubarb Jam?” Thanks to some tips from great friends, this jam didn’t turn out to be such a disappointment after all!

I am so incredibly disappointed. I just want crawl into bed, cover my head, and forget this ever happened. It’s hard not to let kitchen failures totally blow away self-esteem.

I wanted to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I have been searching far and wide for rhubarb – for it’s nostalgic value, mostly, since we used to have a patch in our backyard when I was younger – and finally, I found  some at a farm stand while on a road trip with my parents! I was so excited, since farmer’s markets near me aren’t opening until June.

I can’t really go back to get more rhubarb from that farm stand any time soon, so I intended to make this rhubarb last, and what better way than in jam! My first task was to get the rhubarb chopped up, which required a phone call to my mom inquiring about the necessity of peeling the stalks (not necessary, only pull off any loose strings.) I had gone to the store special just for fruit pectin a few days ago with plans of making this jam, then even made a second special trip back today when I realized the first box of Sure-Jell I purchased was past its expiration date.

I also purchased a 12-pack of canning jars at the hardware store since I intended to make enough to jam to last me a while! Since I am not really equipped with canning gear, I found a recipe from Sure-Jell for freezer jam: 30 minutes to Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb Freezer Jam. I thought it would be best to follow their recipe since I was using their brand of pectin. By this afternoon, I had six jars cleaned, sterilized, and thoroughly dried…jam-making was a go.


Ah yes, I had grand plans of sharing jars with neighbors and friends. I was happily snapping pictures of the entire process, mentally preparing what I expected would be an impressive and informative blog post!

But what an incredible fail. I even broke my measuring cup (not intentionally).

I think my mistake here was not grinding up the rhubarb as described in the recipe. After reading a million other recipes, I was surprised I did not have to cook the fruit at all — and that grinding step just escaped my scrutiny.

But maybe the original mistake was using that recipe in the first place. The whole idea of making my own jam was to induce nostalgia, not only for my childhood, but for that time when nothing was quick and easy and people took time to can enough jam to last them throughout the year. “30 minutes to homemade jam” was an impossibility. Really, what I should have done was get a recipe from one of my Grandmas. (My mom actually sent me one from my Grandma that intriguingly uses strawberry jello instead of fruit pectin!)

At least I didn’t use all of my rhubarb, thank goodness… but how long is it going to take for me to gather up enough courage to give jamming a second chance?  I’ve put my remaining three cups of rhubarb in the freezer while I think about that.