Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Food as Memory

When I was a girl, my grandmother made most things from scratch. She had a huge pantry full of canned fruit. Living on the hill overlooking amazing Lake Chelan she was blessed to live in an area full of wonderful soil that provided orchards full of fruit and gardens full of vegetables.

Rhubarb chopped & ready for Jam.
Of course I love the apricots and apples that were so readily available for her but what I love even more was the RHUBARB! I can't tell you how wonderful her strawberry rhubarb crisp was or her lovely rhubarb jam.  Being its spring now the rhubarb is growing wonderfully here.  I have rhubarb that I transplanted last year and it is growing great but its still a bit small. Thankfully I have a friend who has an old rhubarb plant that it just a monster and he gave me about 16 large stocks to use.

I had planned on making a rhubarb crisp for my husband but as I was surfing along on my favorite recipe website, AllRecipes, and found a wonderfully odd recipe to use my rhubarb up on. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, sounds normal right? Funny thing is the recipe doesn't use any strawberries at all! It uses strawberry jello! The jello helps to gel up the jam and provides the strawberry flavor. The recipe only has three ingredients, rhubarb, sugar and jello! You can even go sugar free and it works. Long story short I made a monster batch of this jam and it was so easy and tasted great.  Next time though I am going to add some curls of orange zest to it for a little more firmness to the jam and only 2/3 the amount of sugar, I like things a little tart- kind of like me!

My son is going crazy over it and for me it was a sweet reminder of my grandmother... a fun, fiesty lady I wish that my children could have had the opportunity to meet.  Maybe get out a favorite recipe from your grandmother and share it with your children...that love will come across the generations.  Perhaps my sweet children will remember this rhubarb jam so much they will want to make it for their babies 20 years from now!

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