Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy, Pectin-free Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly and Glazed Rutabaga

I just returned from a beautiful vacation in Maui, an island that will now forever be connected to pepper jelly in my mind.  Yes, while the rest of my family was eating ham and cheese sandwiches, I was dumping globs of the stuff on a plate and happily picking it up with slices of crusty bread.  BTW, if per chance you go to Maui, you must visit this place.  Sure, I could have made myself a wonderful vegetarian sandwich, but I didn't want to.  I was in love.  I returned home and I knew I wanted to continue this love affair, but since I no longer have the luxury of eating it on a tropical island I decided to compensate by making this the best. darn. pepper jelly I have ever tasted. 

I can't get enough of this stuff, so don't let that itty bitty jar fool you- this makes about 2 cups worth.  About rutabaga- it's fabulous, and is the whole reason I started this veggie journey!  I was at the grocery store with my dad when he saw them and cringed.  I asked, "What's so bad about them?" and he couldn't answer because... he'd never had them before!  His father had once declared them awful and apparently my pops had taken his word for it.  But I wanted to see for myself, so I popped one in my cart and haven't looked back since.  My kids love it mixed in with their hash browns, but I prefer it roasted (I'm beginning to think this blog should have been named Vegetarian Loves Roasting :)  I can't really speak for rhubarb, as the flavors in this all play together and I haven't had it since I was a child.  But it's on my to try list for sure.  Anyways, let's get down to business, or should I say play- though the jelly takes a while, there's really not much work involved!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly
This recipe was adapted from Averie Cooks' Stovetop Pepper Jelly

nonstick spray

1 stalk rhubarb, chopped (no need to peel but def remove leaves- they're poisonous)
1/2 cup sweet onion (preferably maui :), chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded, ribs removed, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar

Spray a nonreactive  medium sized saucepan with nonstick spray and bring to medium high heat..  Add all ingredients except for strawberries and let cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes.  Add strawberries and cook for 2 more.  Add sugar and vinegar, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until reduced by half, stirring occasionally (this usually takes me about an hour and a half.)  I used a toothpick to mark where the mixture began and checked every time I stirred, which was about 3 times during the process.  When it develops a syrupy consistency on your spoon you are generally good to go.  Pour into canning jar (careful- it's hot!) and place in warm cupboard overnight to set.  Then store it in your fridge for up to 3 weeks, or in your freezer for a year.

Glazed Rutabaga

2 rutabagas
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup Strawberry Rhubarb Pepper Jelly

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the peel off rutabagas and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in bowl and massage in olive oil, salt, and sugar.  Roast for 30-40 minutes on foil-lined baking sheet until tender, stirring every 15 minutes to reduce sticking.  Melt jelly in microwave and drizzle over rutabaga, stir, then return to oven for 2-3 minutes. 


  1. Jenny, the jelly sounds absolutely yummy. The combo of the sour rhubarb, sweet strawberries, savory onions, and spicy jalapeno -- what's not to like?