Allotmenting has paid off in parts, i have a near inexhaustible supply of rhubarb which is a God send if you a) like it as much as i do and b) are disgusted by what people are charging for it.
Seriously, i shlepped home with an easy 2.5Kg the other week (after prep) and saw in my local greengrocer its going for £3.99 a kilo. That’s eye-wateringly expensive if you ask me. Don’t get me started on the cost of strawberries either. I chose to not try and grow strawberries this year but the same greengrocers had boxes of very sad and occasionally “fluffy” (mouldy) strawbs at the till, 2 boxes for £1. I highly recommend you look out for deals like this, anything that looks a bit gross can be chopped away, then chuck them in a bag and freeze for when you want them. Even better, if you have the time or inclination freeze in 200g bags so you don’t have to faff with weighing when you want to get on with jam.
Rhubarb has naff all pectin in it and i don’t bother with jam sugar because i don’t mind a soft set but you are welcome to use it if you prefer. I am more of a lemon seeds in an old pair of tights, kinda girl but i always was a terrible slattern. Remember to save your apple and lemon seeds and freeze them for easy access pectin in the future.
This jam is really tangy, a lot like summer is punching you in the face with flavour, and goes very well on toast, posh vanilla cream, cakes and strong cheddar.
For my jam you will need
- 1.4KG rhubarb – make friends with your greengrocer to get some battered stuff at the end of the day or speak to your allotment friends to get some cheap, offer a swap!
- 300g strawberries
- 1 large lemon – juiced and seeds saved
- Good pinch of salt
- 1.2KG sugar – i use white granulated
- A square of muslin/pair of tights, leg cut off/pop sock
- Small plate in the freezer or a food temp monitor
- 6 jars, sterilised
Pop the chopped rhubarb into a pan on a moderate heat and cook down, add your strawberries and pips tied in your preferred fabric and give everything a stir.
After around 15 to 20 minutes add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and stir thoroughly. Turn the heat up high and watch out for flying jam. The method of checking if the jam is at the setting temp is to take the plate out of your freezer, dollop a little on it, wait a second and gently push the jam to see if it “wrinkles“. This method has never, ever worked for me so i use a food thermometer and cook until the temp reaches between 104c – 106c. Do what works for you.
Once at the setting temp, fill your jars (i tend to use a jug and pour the jam in, less messy than using a spoon) and leave to cool, lids screwed on tightly.