My mom's favorite jelly-making technique involves the microwave, a touch of sugar, seasonally appropriate fruit, a large Pyrex measuring bowl, and some plastic wrap. A quick zap and it's ready to be slathered on the nearest piece of freshly baked bread. Since I haven't owned a microwave since college, I had to go old school on my rhubarb. This method isn't quite as fast, but it's pretty darn simple.
Agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index and is therefore better for those who need to monitor their sugar intake. Use a smaller piece of ginger if you prefer a more subtle flavor. Adding the strawberries halfway through the cooking process keeps the flavors bright and improves the otherwise lackluster texture. This is a fairly loose jelly; use 1/4 cup water if you prefer a denser schmear.
Makes 3 pints
9 large stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
1 piece (1/2 inch) ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup agave nectar
Pinch of salt
1 pint strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1. In a flameproof casserole, combine all ingredients except strawberries. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the strawberries. Cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 10 minutes, or until strawberries are mostly broken down. (The jelly will be sort of thick, but it will continue to thicken as it cools.)
3. Pour into jars. Store in the refrigerator.