Yesterday morning I got to start off my work week by making rhubarb apple jam with Schuyler Smith, communications director from reachAbility. Schuyler wanted to bring some tasty local treats to a fundraising event for a new initiative called urbanOrchard, which will be getting underway this summer. We here at the Ecology Action Centre will be helping urbanOrchard out later this summer with preserving workshops, so it was fitting that we started the season off by making jam that used two of the most plentiful fruits in the province!
urbanOrchard is an urban gleaning project that will harvest unwanted produce from fruit and nut trees around Halifax and redistribute it between the homeowner, the volunteers, and Feed Nova Scotia. Urban gleaning has become more popular around the country, with great organizations like Victoria’s LifeCycles project, Winnipeg’s Fruit Share, and Toronto’s Not Far From the Tree mobilizing community volunteers to make use of unwanted food that grow in our cities.
Here’s a brief description from their website of what reachAbility hopes to work on this summer: The urbanOrchard project is an opportunity for persons with disabilities, volunteers, and community members to contribute to food security by participating in an urban harvesting program. We will take participants and volunteers around HRM to harvest fruits, berries, and nuts. The fruit will come from two sources; public trees shared by HRM, and trees on private property. Any homeowner can register their fruit or nut trees with urbanOrchard and we will mobilize to pick the bounty when ripe. We share the harvest evenly between the homeowner and Feed Nova Scotia, keeping one third for the participants of urbanOrchard. With the help of the Ecology Action Centre, we will turn our share of the fruit into jams, jellies, pickles and preserves. This additional learning opportunity will allow us to teach preservation skills that are almost lost to our generation.
I can’t wait to work on this great project with Schuyler and the rest of the reachAbility team later this summer! Our jam-making session just whetted my appetite for all the tasty treats we’re going to can later this summer.
Before yesterday, I hadn’t ever made anything that combined rhubarb and apple, but this combination ended up being very tasty! The apples cooked down quite a bit, but still provided a bit more chunky consistency for a lovely, thick jam with a slightly unusual flavour.
Easy Apple Rhubarb Jam
Makes four 250ml jars
3 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups diced peeled apples
2 cups white sugar 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin
1. In a large saucepan mix together the rhubarb, apples, sugar, water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Stir in the pectin and boil for 5 minutes.
2. Ladle into sterile jars, wipe rims with a clean cloth or paper towel, and seal with new lids. Process in a bath of simmering water for at least 10 minutes, or as recommended by your local extension if you are at a high altitude. Store unopened jars in a cool dark place. Refrigerate jam after opening.
Yours in Food,