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
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 100g raisins
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 500g sugar
First up, have sterilised jam jars all ready to go – you need 3-4 jars for this recipe. I tend to try and time it so I have jars coming out of the dishwasher just as I start preparing the fruit. I then pop them into a warm oven (Gas 1, 140C (120C fan) until I am ready to pot up the jam. Otherwise I wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse them, then put them in the oven (same temp) to dry whilst I make the jam. To sterilise the lids, I put them in a large bowl, along with the scoop I use to ladle the jam into jars, and my jam funnel, and cover the whole lot in boiling water until I am ready to use them.
Squeeze the citrus fruits, reserving the juice, & then cover the skins in cold water in a pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Whilst you are waiting for the peel to soften, chop the rhubarb into 2cm lengths.
Test the peel with the point of a knife, if it is nice and soft, remove from the heat & leave to cool, then 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 (make sure you protect your hand from hot jam splashing and spitting when you stir).
Boil until the jam is thick – this takes about 20 minutes. Then add the raisins & spices & simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Allow the jam to cool slightly & then pot in warm, sterilised jars.