Our rhubarb, including all the bits of divided crown we planted last year, is doing really well – no doubt helped by all this dreadful RAIN… I made some of our favourite Citrussy Rhubarb Jam (a sort of cross between jam and marmalade) a few weeks ago, but there was plenty more to pick when I fancied doing some preserving yesterday.
One of the downsides of making jam with rhubarb is that it can end up a rather disappointing brown colour, which is a reason, I guess, why recipes for rhubarb and strawberry jam are so common. But of course, strawberries aren’t in season yet, so casting my mind round for other red fruits, I thought of dried cranberries and decided to have a little experiment. Here’s the result – I think you’ll agree the colour is pretty good:
The flavour is excellent too – the cranberries are a really good alternative to raisins or sultanas, with a little bit of added extra tang.
Rhubarb and Cranberry Preserve
1 kg fresh rhubarb
900g granulated sugar
200g dried cranberries
100 ml water
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Makes about 5 standard size (1lb or 450g) jars of preserve
- Prepare your jars and lids etc by sterilizing them (see notes).
- Wash the rhubarb and chop roughly into 2 inch pieces. Put a large, heavy, roomy pan with the sugar, cranberries and the water.
- Bring VERY slowly to the boil to melt the sugar.
- When it reaches the boil, turn up the heat and allow to come to a rolling boil, and boil until thickened and the setting point (see notes) is reached, which takes around 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice
- Pot immediately in sterilized jars, cover with wax paper circles and screw on the lids tightly whilst the jam is still hot.
Sterilizing your jars – the Very Berry method:
- Wash jars thoroughly in hot soapy water or run them through a dishwasher.
- Dry in a preheated cool oven (around 160C/ Gas 3), and make sure the jars are hot when you pot up the jam.
- Soak the lids and any jam funnels or cups/ladles you are going to use to pot the jam in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
Testing for set:
- Before you start making your jam, put a couple of saucers or small plates in the freezer.
- The setting point for jam is 105C /220F – you can use a jam thermometer, or if you don’t have one, keep a close eye on the jam and you will see it start to thicken, and start sticking to your wooden spoon.
- Take the jam off the heat when you test for setting point – you don’t want to over-boil it.
- To be really sure, get one of your saucers out of the freezer (mind your hands – it’s cold!) and put a drop of jam on the plate. If it forms a skin and sets as it cools, then you have reached your setting point. If it doesn’t, put your jam back on the boil and test again after a couple of minutes.
I’d love to know how you get on with this recipe if you give it a try. I think it’s delicious – one of the great things about posting recipes is I always get to eat the subject of the photo after I’ve taken the pics..!