This recipe is a winner for my taste buds, not too sweet, and is also very easy, making it a necessity to be a regular. Firstly it is made from rhubarb, and that is so easy to grow and there are no pests or diseases, or at least none that I have yet discovered!
It grows for most of the season and therefore is available whenever I run out of jam, and lastly, I grew far too much of it, having nil experience with it I had no idea how many bulbs to buy and erred on the basis that I wanted to have enough at any one time to make it worth picking so I planted about 8 corms. There has been enough to keep us in rhubarb right through the season. We have mainly had it stewed on cereal for breakfast and with apple as a crumble.
When the whole lot started sagging after a big rain event I came up with the idea of making it into jam. Well Google told me that I am not the first person to come up with that idea. What I found is that it is just the same as my stewed rhubarb recipe (made with vanilla and sugar) and some lemon and jamsetta added and cooked for a bit longer and put into sterilised jars.
RHUBARB, VANILLA AND LEMON JAM
- 1 kg rhubarb, leaves removed and disposed of (such beautiful things yet quite poisonous), washed and sliced into 1cm pieces
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 capful of pure vanilla essence (OPTIONAL)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 25 g pectin (jamsetta – fowlers vacola), only seems to be necessary if water is used
- 1 cup water – works ok without this
Place sliced rhubarb and sugar in a bowl, stir and leave in the fridge overnight. This releases a fair bit of moisture and the flavour gets into the rhubarb.
After macerating for a while the rhubarb is ready to cook.
Put a saucer into the freezer to test the jam on.
Prepare the jars and lids by boiling them covered by water for five minutes and keep simmering until ready to use.
Put the rhubarb mix into a large pot and bring to the boil, adding a cup of boiling water, the lemon juice and vanilla essence and simmer until the fruit has softened.
Put a teaspoon of the mix onto the cold saucer and put it back into the freezer until it is cold. Check whether the jam has set by pushing it with your finger. If you are happy with the consistency stop cooking. Otherwise continue cooking or add the jamsetta and boil briskly again for 5 minutes and retest.
Continue testing until the jam is the consistency that you want. When it is ready remove the jars from the pot one at a time, fill and seal.
Make a funnel/collar out of a few layers of baking paper and roll it into a cone and insert into the top of the jar. Pour in the hot mix to within one centimetre from the top and seal. I use the Fowlers Vacola plastic seals.
It should store in the fridge for a while. I usually keep excess jams in the freezer, but this doesn’t last long enough to need to worry about long term storage.
Because it is so easy to make and the raw materials (rhubarb and sugar) are available most of the year (except Winter), making extra when it runs out is not a a big deal.
This is easy to make at the same time as the jam. I just chop all of the rhubarb that I have, macerate it over night in sugar then scoop off a pile of the sugar / rhubarb mixture, add it to a saucepan, add an equal amount of water, bring to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb has broken down and leave to cool. Strain off the liquid and store as cordial for a couple of weeks. The lovely pink looks great added to cocktails.