One of the fondest memories of growing up in my house was the amazing food that we were brought up on. Traditional recipes past down through generations of great cooks in my family. One that sticks out the most for me is Rhubarb Jam. I often remember my mum coming home with a big bunch of rhubarb that her aunt had given her as a present. Great Auntie Biddie grew rhubarb out in her back garden in Limerick and whenever we would pop down for a visit, the boot was packed full of it and sent back to Dublin for all kinds of treats to be made, jam, crumble, you name it, if you could put rhubarb in it, mum made it.
A couple of weeks ago, I spotted some very weathered looking rhubarb in the farmer’s market and suddenly thought, I’ve never made jam!! Alarm bells were going off in my head. With homesick-ness kicking in at a fast rate, coming into my 8th months of being away from the nest this year, I thought what better way to bring a taste of mum back into my kitchen than to make her rhubarb jam.
One text to mum and I got an e-mail with instructions, it couldn’t be this easy could it? That sweet yet tart sticky jam that I used to have smeared all over my face, running around the neighbours backyard, in my nappy no doubt, was a very simple task. Yet, made with love!!
So, I got to working on my rhubarb, the boy quickly stepped in to help, eager as ever! His mum has been making stores of jam at home and the two of us are dying to get our mits on some, I’ll have to wait until Christmas though, fingers crossed I get a spoon of it 🙂
We washed, trimmed and chopped up the rhubarb and placed it in to a bowl, not metal, as the rhubarb is acidic and the metal effects the process.
Covered the whole lot in caster sugar. My instructions were to leave it over night. We popped out for a couple of hours and when we got back the sugar had drawn out so much liquid from the rhubarb already, I knew it was going to be a sweet and juicy treat.
I covered the bowl with a plate and left it over night.
The next day, it was ready for boiling.
No need to put water in. You can see that the rhubarb and sugar concoction has created a massive amount of liquid.
Use a good saucepan, not tinny. Good and solid is what you’re after.
I had read lemon was good for rhubarb but mum suggested ginger. Crystallised ginger would be best and can be found in most health food stores but go with raw if you can’t find it. I used fresh, grated ginger, about 1 teaspoon ful.
Bring your rhubarb to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer gently until it reduces.
Keep an eye on it, I was using a gas stove top, which didn’t take too long. Maybe 10/15 minutes. Depending on your burner.
If you see any foam forming, scoop it out with a slotted spoon. It is more the texture than the taste that is off putting, but it won’t harm you.
Make sure to sterilise your jars. A dishwasher is perfect. I don’t have access to one so I boil my jars and then heat them in the oven. Using tongs and oven mits at all times. WARNING!! Hot glass is not fun, use tongs at all time!
Put hot fruit into hot jars
A little trick my mum told me was, if you are using jars with lids, fill them with the jam, place the lids on secure and tight and then flip the jar upside down and this will create a vacuum and stop mould forming.
Another warning! Hot jam is also not fun and can burn so please be careful of your little fingers when making jam. They are precious for future jam-making escapades!
Will you be making some jam this week? If so, let me know! I’m always up for trying a new recipe and love hearing your ideas 🙂