Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recipe: Rhubarb & Vanilla Jam

When it comes to making rhubarb jam remember that rhubarb has low levels of pectin (the substance in fruit which sets jam) which is why in this recipe contains the juice of a lemon to help in the extraction of pectin.

There is an argument as to whether jam sugar - which has higher levels of pectin - is better to use when making jam than standard granulated sugar. It really comes down to how well you like your jam set which is why I often use standard granulated sugar because it gives my jam that slight runny texture - so it really is up to you.

Important tip: Remember to sterilise your jars by washing them first; then placing them along with the lids in a low oven (50 degrees is enough) to warm the jars to avoid mold growing on your jam.

Ingredients (Makes 3 small jars)

- 900g Rhubarb
- 900g Jam Sugar (or standard sugar, see above)
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Vanilla Pod (split)


1. Wipe the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces. In a heavy bottomed pan, place a layer of rhubarb on the bottom, cover with a layer of sugar and repeat until both the sugar and rhubarb are completely covered in the pan. Add in the juice of one lemon, cover the pan tightly with a lid and leave to rest overnight.

2. The following day, place two plates into a fridge. In the pot the sugar and lemon will have turned to a beautiful, delicious liquid, so now add in your vanilla. Bring this mixture to a very fast boil for about 12-15 minutes. While boiling, a layer of scum will have formed, which is fine as all you need to do is skim it off.

3. It is easy to test for a setting point for your jam, take the plate out of the fridge and place a teaspoon of jam on the cold plate. If the jam is set it will wrinkle, if not continue to boil for a little longer. Of course, you can be technical and use a jam thermometer reaching setting point of 105c but the old ways are always the best.

4. Using a jam funnel, pour the jam into your jam jars sealing tightly with a lid. The jam will keep for months in your larder and if you wish, freeze some rhubarb to use in winter to make more jam.