A real sign of spring is the first fruit of the year. For us it’s rhubarb: we have three crowns, one of which we’ve split up and replanted to revitalise it a bit. The other two are finally looking ready to harvest, with lots of jolly pink stalks just waiting to be stewed up for crumble, steeped in vodka, or turned into preserves.
One of our favourites is an ancient rhubarb jam recipe from Living Magazine (inherited via Ali’s godmother). Ginger and orange are classic partners for rhubarb and this preserve makes the most of the combination of rhubarb and citrus – giving a marmalady twist to rhubarb jam.
Citrussy Rhubarb Jam
- 600g prepared rhubarb chopped into 2cm lengths
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 250ml water
- 100g raisins
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 500g sugar
Squeeze the citrus fruits, reserving the juice, & then cover the skins in cold water in a pan & boil for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat & cool, scrape out the white pith (it should come away very easily), then slice the peel very thinly.
Put the rhubarb, sliced peel, sugar and fruit juice into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat very gently to dissolve the sugar & then bring the mixture to a fast boil, stirring frequently to prevent the jam sticking to the pan.
Boil until the jam is thick – this takes about 20 minutes. Then add the raisins & spices & boil for a further 5 minutes.
Allow the jam to cool slightly & then pot in warm, sterilized jars.