I love rhubarb season and because I missed it for about three years on the trot I make a concerted effort now to make sure I do some rhubarb cooking. This week I made rhubarb jam with a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website.
I quite enjoy jam-making but it always makes me a little nervous. I think it's not going to set, yet it always does. A jam thermometer really helps the confidence - you need to get to 105c.
I liked the sound of this recipe, I thought the vanilla made it sound interesting and a bit different from other rhubarb jams I have eaten in the past. Thankfully Tesco brought me ruby red rhubarb rather than the green stuff I normally get, so the jam came out a lovely deep red colour.
It took longer to get to setting point than the recipe said but I do think you have to wing it a bit with jam and just cook it until it's ready rather than sticking rigidly to the recipe times. If I'd have done that I would have ended up with a syrup rather than a jam! lengthways
I tasted a little of this on my finger last night and it was delicious - very sweet! I think it's going to be lovely on a scone with some clotted cream. In fact I want that so badly I'm going to go to the shop this evening and get some if I can.
This jam will keep for 6 months, in a cool cupboard or pantry. It makes enough to fill about 3 x lb jars.
Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam
1kg rhubarb, trimmed and chopped into 3cm pieces (this is the weight after preparing)
1kg jam sugar
2 vanilla pods, halved
juice 1 lemon
To start with, pop a small plate in the freezer (you'll need this later for testing your jam). Wash your jam jars in some really hot soapy water then pop into the oven on a low heat to dry completely. You can leave them in there to keep warm whilst you make the jam.
Place all the rhubarb into your preserving pan along with the jam sugar and the halved vanilla pods. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved. Squeeze in the lemon juice and increase the heat.
Boil the rhubarb for around 10 minutes, the fruit should soften. Skim off any scum as it is boiling but I do minimal skimming or else you may lose some of those gorgeous vanilla seeds as they float to the top.
After the 10 minutes is up, test to see if the jam has reached setting point. Put a small teaspoon of jam onto your chilled plate and pop into the fridge. After a minute or so, push your finger through the jam. If the jam wrinkles as you push it is ready. If it doesn't wrinkle, keep cooking for another 2 minutes and then test again. Keep doing this until you have reached setting point.
When the jam has reached setting point, let it cool slightly before ladling the jam into the warm sterilised jars, filling as near to the top as possible and sealing.
Yum! And with that, I'm off to get some scones!