Making Rhubarb Jelly (aka my first canning project!)

PicMonkey Collage

Me, after harvesting fresh rhubarb from the garden, and the same rhubarb in it’s preserved state as rhubarb jelly.

This week I made my first ever canned (well, actually jarred) preserves. I am REALLY excited about this. Food preservation has been something we’ve been talking about wanting to do ever since the Farm for Life project began, but, until last year, it wasn’t something we prioritized. We were too busy making garden beds and getting used to harvesting our own fresh food while also holding down day-jobs and families and relationships.

That all changed when Chris K and I started dating and later moved in together here on the farm. Chris had (and still has) a big interest in preserving food, so, with his presence and encouragement, we began freezing food, drying food, and, his personal favorite, fermenting food.

However, until this past week, preservation by canning was still something we hadn’t tried. We’ve had all the equipment necessary for it since last year, but I kept putting it off because the idea of doing something wrong and risking botulism terrified me.

I guess it must have been the explosion of rhubarb in our gardens that inspired me to finally try it. I’ve been feeling motivated to keep on top of our food-preservation goals, so I read up on all of the safety and procedure details and away I went! I gathered an armload of rhubarb, picked out a recipe in one of our books, and got to work. Disappointingly, but I suppose not surprisingly given that it was my very first try, I burned my first batch of boiling rhubarb, sugar and pectin before it even had a chance of getting into my boiled jars. I was bummed, but not defeated. I went straight out into the garden, harvested another armload of rhubarb, and, with a close eye on the stove, gave it a second shot. Success! I created 3 beautiful jars of rich pink rhubarb jelly, one of which has already travelled to Ontario with Chris’ mom who was here visiting us while my rhubarb and I took over the kitchen.

With one successful batch of jarred jelly under my belt, I’m feeling so excited to try out other recipes. I have been daydreaming about having a pantry filled with colourful jars of healthy, homemade food for a long time, and now it feels like that is within reach. *happy sigh*

Julie wants to get in on the action so we’re going to have another rhubarb-jelly-making session. Maybe we’ll film it and throw together one of our little DIY videos. It’s been awhile since we’ve made one and it’s time she made more of an appearance on our blog. Stay tuned!