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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Early rhubarb jam.

Early rhubarb jam | River Cottage:
This is one of Pam's favourite ways to capture the earthy flavour of rhubarb.
It's a plant that contains very little pectin so the jam definitely requires an extra dose.
This light, soft jam is good mixed with yoghurt or spooned over ice cream, or you can warm it and use to glaze a bread and butter pudding after baking.

Method
Wipe and trim the rhubarb (1kg) and cut into 2–2.5cm chunks.
Pour a layer of sugar (900g) into the bottom of a preserving pan, then add a layer of rhubarb.
Repeat, continuing until all the sugar and rhubarb are used, finishing with a layer of sugar.
Pour juice of one orange over the top.

Cover and leave for at least an hour or two – preferably overnight.
This draws the juice from the rhubarb and the resulting syrup helps keep the rhubarb chunks whole when boiled.

Gently bring the mixture to the boil, stirring carefully without crushing the rhubarb pieces.
Boil rapidly for 5–6 minutes, then test for setting point.
Remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before pouring into warm, sterilised jars.

Seal immediately, use within 12 months.

I have about 500g of fresh chopped rhubarb. Recipe makes around 800 ml of jam.
Variations
Add 100g chopped crystallised stem ginger to the fruit, omitting the orange juice.

Sharper-tasting maincrop rhubarb can also be used for this recipe – try adding a few young angelica leaves or a handful of fragrant rose petals.

Fruit, pectin, acid and sugar are the four ingredients required to produce the magic result known as a set' - ie, the right wobbling, spreadable consistency.
In July we have the soft fruit, the strawberries, raspberries and the currants, and then later things put on their thicker coats like apples do, marrows do and onions do.
The hedgerow glut is in September and then there's marmalade oranges from Seville that arrive in early January and rhubarb in January and February.
I always say that it is rhubarb that links the preserving season.
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