I’ve mentioned before how West Yorkshire is famed for its ‘rhubarb triangle’, and even though we live just outside it, our rhubarb grows like crazy so this delicious, delicately flavoured rhubarb and rose jam is perfect for making the most of it. Better still, it’s also really easy to make and would make a lovely gift for a friend too.
I got a little obsessed with rhubarb jam whilst in France, having bought some of it at the Hypermarché (just their own brand, nothing special) and had it on croissants for breakfast. I even contemplated smuggling the remainder in the jar in 100ml containers back to England, but decided that I should put the rhubarb in our garden to good use instead and avoid a sticky airport embarrassment. I am so glad I did, because I now have 6 jars of the stuff so we’ll be enjoying it for a while yet. The addition of rose was a bit of an experiment. I wanted something fragrant to add an extra dimension to the rhubarb, and googling recipes came up with lots made with strawberry but I’m allergic to strawberries. I recently bought some rose water and dried rose petals on a whim in an asian food store, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use them. Happily I was right!
This was my second attempt at jam making. Last year we had pears in our garden in our rented house, and I made copious amounts of delicious pear and ginger jam, but it didn’t quite set properly, so this time I was determined to get it right (i.e. cook the hell out of it!). Rhubarb and ginger is one of my favourite flavour combinations (as I explain in my rhubarb and ginger crumble cake recipe), but Ste doesn’t like ginger, so I decided to use something else so he could enjoy the jam too. Aren’t I a nice girlfriend? Anyway, despite my less than perfect attempt last year, jam making is actually really easy and you don’t need any special kit apart from some clean jars and seals and a big heavy bottomed pan. Mine is the 365+ one from Ikea, and it worked great, you really don’t need one of those amazing old preserving pans (even though I totally want one of those). There are a couple of bits that make things easier, like a jam funnel for filling the jars, but that just saves on a bit of mess and wiping up after, so you don’t really need one. If you’re in the UK, head to Wilkinsons, they have a brilliant selection of jam-making accoutrements at very good prices (it’s where I buy my Kilner jars).
Right, on with the jammin’.
Rhubarb and Rose Jam
- 1kg rhubarb stems, chopped into chunks 1cm thick
- 900g jam sugar (the type including pectin)
- juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp dried rose petals
- 1 tbsp rose water
- The night before you want to make your jam, put the chopped rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice into a bowl, stir thoroughly, and leave in the fridge until the next morning, to let the juices come out of the fruit.
- When you’re ready to make your jam, empty the contents of the bowl into a heavy-bottomed pan and slowly bring it to the boil. Put a plate into the freezer for testing the set.
- Once it boils, add the rose petals and water and stir. Keep it on a rolling boil for 20-25 minutes, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, sterilise your jam jars. Ensure they are washed, then put them (without lids) on a baking tray lined with parchment in the oven at 160ºC for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
- If you have a jam thermometer, check to see if it has reached 105ºC which is the set point. If not, use the plate method – put a teaspoon of jam onto your chilled plate and leave for a few minutes to cool. Then push the edge with your finger, if it wrinkles then you’ve reached setting point.
- Once your jam is ready, ladle it into your sterilised jam jars, filling them to about 1cm down.
- Put a waxed disc on top of the jam in each jar, waxed side down. Moisten a cellophane seal, and put it, dampened side up, on the top of each jar, securing with an elastic band. You can see it shrink and seal with the heat of the jam.
- Once cooled, screw the lid on tightly, at which point you can remove the elastic band. The jam should keep in a dark place for years, but it won’t be around that long, I promise!
This basic method will work with most types of fruit, though some don’t need the overnight soak. Be brave and experiment – it is really fun and for some reason there’s much more of a sense of achievement with jam-making than with a lot of other cooking. Maybe it’s because we think of it as tricky but it absolutely isn’t, and the results are so delicious!
I’m bringing my rhubarb and rose jam to the party over at Fiesta Friday (even if I am a day late) as well as some other great link parties. Be sure to head over and check them out, or follow me on Pinterest for my favourite recipes and DIYs from them all, and I’d love for you to Pin this recipe to try whenever a load of rhubarb comes your way!