Jamming with rhubarb

Last week ushered in the third season of my jamming career. Last year’s jamming season was so productive I haven’t had to buy a single jar of jam all year. This year, two jamming sessions later and I’ve already filled half of my store of empty jars. I’m going to need more before the summer is out!

The main jamming ‘fruit’ this early in the year is rhubarb. Our garden happens to have a rather large rhubarb patch — yes, nearly 4 square metres. I’ve made two batches of rhubarb and strawberry jam: ‘Divine’ Rhubarb Jam and ‘Indulgent’ Rhubarb Jam.

‘Divine’ Rhubarb Jam is an adaptation of Vanilla Garlic’s Rhubarb Crisp with Rosemary. Ros and I used that recipe to make a rhubarb crumble for the first time last year. We were apprehensive, mixing rosemary with rhubarb and strawberry? But one bite had us swooning in our seats, declaring forevermore to refer to this recipe as ‘Divine Rhubarb Crumble’. Being as we still had a lot of rhubarb later in the summer, and I was feeling more confident in my jamming skills to experiment, I adapted Garrett’s recipe for the crumble filling into jam. I’ve made it again this year, not even bothering with plain rhubarb jam.

Divine Rhubarb Jam

1kg rhubarb
200g strawberries
1kg jam sugar
3tsp rosemary
50ml lemon juice

Chop the rhubarb and strawberries into small chunks. Mix in rosemary. Pour some of the fruit mixture into the bottom of your stainless steel or copper pot, cover with a layer of jam sugar, and repeat until you have layered all of the fruit and sugar. Pour the lemon juice on top. Let it sit for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. The sugar and lemon juice will draw the juices out of the rhubarb, creating a nice syrup.

Give it a good stir and then bring slowly to a rolling boil. Stir constantly to keep from sticking and also to break up the fruit chunks (stir less if you want chunkier jam). Let boil for 10 minutes before testing for a setting point. Once the setting point has been reached, pour immediately into sterilised jars, and seal.

Let cool, and wait for the satisfying pop the lids make when they are properly sealed.

Spread on toast with salted butter, and the result is simply divine…

What is in the ‘Indulgent’ Rhubarb Jam, you ask? Well, let’s just say it was inspired by another one of Garrett’s recipes.

12 jars of rhubarb jam is enough for one season, however. I’m going to wait until the gooseberries are ready for picking before I make any more jam. Those should be ready in another couple of weeks. But what to do with all this rhubarb in the meantime? I’m thinking of buying a demijohn or two, and trying my hand at rhubarb wine

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