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Earlier this month on the YGG boards, Heather and I guessed that this month’s Can Jam ingredient would be either asparagus (her guess) or rhubarb (my guess). Turns out we were both right! This month we had the choice between asparagus and rhubarb. I picked rhubarb, hoping the plant in my back yard would give me some good (and very local!) yield for this month’s Can Jam!

Unfortunately, the plant seems to have other plans and, unlike every other gargantuan rhubarb plant in Southern Ontario, it’s tiny. It’s barely big enough to harvest a single stalk.

So instead, I asked my sister to pick some rhubarb up for me from the Kitchener market that she goes to every week. I met up with her last Friday for a girl’s day a the hair salon and she handed me this:
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I promise it looked much better than this. The condensation was because it was in the fridge. The rhubarb was excellent and fresh!

As we were discussing the rhubarb, a man who was also getting his hair cut spoke up and said, “I’m moving tomorrow, and my old house has a huge patch of rhubarb growing in the backyard. Do you want some?” And thus began what Sarah (who picked this month’s Can Jam ingredient(s), BTW) called my “Random Act of Rhubarb”. The photo at the beginning of this post shows the haul my mom and I harvested from some random backyard in Waterloo. This is what it looked like once it was split into leaves and stalks:
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We left the leaves on so we didn’t leave a mess in the backyard, but I cut them off and threw them out – rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so don’t eat them!!

With a small amount of rhubarb from my CSA, the stuff from my sister, and the Random Act of Rhubarb, I ended up with 30 cups of chopped rhubarb. That’s enough for stewed rhubarb, Victorian BBQ Sauce, and 7 cups that are now in the freezer waiting for strawberry season to start so I can make strawberry rhubarb pie filling!

The most unique of the recipes is the Victorian BBQ Sauce, so that’s what I’ve chosen for this month’s Can Jam! I may post about the stewed rhubarb later. The only change I made to the recipe was that I only had about 3/4 cup of raisins, so I substituted 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries instead of running to the store for more raisins! The only other suggestion I can come up with is this: Make a double batch. This is good stuff and you’re going to want lots.

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Victorian BBQ Sauce
From Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving
Yield: 4 pint (500mL) jars
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

8 cups chopped rhubarb
3 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes.

3. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, but adding hot sauce. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store. [Don't know how to do this step? Check out the Tigress' great Canning 101 post for a great primer.]

Victorian BBQ Sauce

I had an extra cup or so left over of the sauce so, instead of doing a half-jar, I used it on the pork tenderloin we ate for dinner that night. Just spread the sauce over the tenderloin, bake at 350F until the tenderloin is cooked. Easy!

For bonus points, dump all the juices and extra sauce out of the roasting pan into a small saucepan. Put it over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently (this stuff is really sweet, so it’ll stick easily!). Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp flour with some water, stock, or some of the juices into a small bowl (I use a container with a lid so I can shake it all together) and mix as well as possible. Dump the flour mixture into the heated juices, mix with a whisk until well blended, and spoon this over the tenderloin.

Victorian Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Gravy

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For extra noms, serve with oven roasted potatoes and a salad of fresh greens straight out of the garden. Yum.


Happy Victoria Day weekend to all my Canadian friends!

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