"I heard the heartbeat today and it sounded like someone hammering beside the sea."
At first glance, this might not seem like much, just a jar of rhubarb preserves.
Stewed fruit and sugar, laced with an East African vanilla bean and double-strength bergamot tea. One pound of rhubarb made only a single pint. And, over the course of the last day and a half, I've eaten multiple english muffins and several pieces of toast simply as a means of eating more jam, so it doesn't look like the pint will last long.
For those of you who might not follow along on Instagram, you may not have heard the happy news that we are anticipating a tiny addition come September. Somehow, by grace, there are now three heartbeats between the two of us.
So thats all to say, we are celebrating around here. Mostly, in excitement over this tiny new person, but also because this jam is the first thing I have cooked at home since the last days of January. It has been a rocky nearly-five months, filled with intense sickness and trips to the ER. But we seem to have moved out of the darkness that is hyperemesis, and I finally feel like myself again.
Despite my own physical struggles, the baby is happy and growing. Last week, at our twenty-week scan, we heart her heartbeat and learned that she's a healthy baby girl. In a way, I wish that we were the kind of people who could wait a full nine months to know the gender of our child, but I am too much of a planner. And after four months that legitimately felt like four years, we were eager jump back into full-blown excitement.
So, in honor of this little girl, I made pink jam, and we bought pink flowers for the windowbox out back. After our scan, we drove to the cafe where I used to work and scribbled notes and baby names in a tiny moleskin notebook while eating muffins and sipping large cups of tea. Things are just going to get brighter and brighter from here on out. xo
If you're feeling the need for something sweet and pink in your life, this is the recipe I used for the rhubarb jam (though, I halved this recipe and omitted the pectin altogether).
Recipe adapted from Food In Jars
· 10 cups of chopped rhubarb (approximately 2 1/2 pounds of stalks)
· 5 cups sugar
· 1 cup brewed Earl Grey tea
· 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
· 1 lemon, juiced (I substituted grapefruit juice, since that's all I had on hand).
· pinch of salt
· 1 packet liquid pectin
1. Sterilize your jars in a large pot of boiling water. If you're making refrigerator jam (it will keep nicely unprocessed in the fridge for 2-3 months), skip this step.
2. In a 5-quart, non-reactive pot, bring the rhubarb, sugar and tea to a boil.
3. Add the vanilla bean, lemon and salt to the pot and let it bubble gently for about ten minutes (on my stove, this means I set it to medium-high).
4. After ten minutes have elapsed, add the pectin, stir to combine and let cook for a few more minutes.
5. At this point, dip a spoon in the jam and see how it coats the back of the spoon. If you get a nice, even sheet, the jam is done. You can also taste at this point, to see if you like the balance of flavors. Add a little more lemon juice if you feel it needs additional brightening.
6. Pour into hot jars, wide mouth and rings to remove any spillage and apply lids/rings.
7. Process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.
8. Remove from water and let cool.