Ok! you may be thinking……
Rhubarb jam, seasonal cooking? I don’t think so….
Yes, Yorkshire forced rhubarb is an out of season rhubarb – it is first grown outside for two years and then the crowns are brought in and planted in darkened and warmed growing sheds.
Yorkshire forced rhubarb is part of our farming heritage here in the UK and has been grown like this since 1877. The main aim to produce this vegetable (but mainly used as a fruit) early in the year when fruit was scarce.
This brilliant old farming tradition is still being upheld in what is called the rhubarb triangle in Yorkshire, between Morley, Wakefield and Rothwell.
There are now only twelve growers today whereas there used to be hundreds. We do grow some rhubarb in the garden and I love to pull it in the spring to early summer, turning it into cordials, crumbles, fools and in the making of more jam. But I also love to support this old traditionional method of forcing rhubarb. The stems are so beautifully rose tinted,tender and so damn delicious!
As the saying goes if we don’t use it we will lose it!
You can make this jam with any rhubarb in later months, but join me now in the making of this delicious preserve with the early season Yorkshire forced rhubarb and celebrate the glory of its presence.
- 800g rhubarb sticks, cut into 4cm lengths ( discard the leaves )
- zest and juice of 2 oranges
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 800g granulated sugar or preserving sugar
- 60g fresh ginger, bashed with a rolling pin, tied in muslin
- 100g stem ginger in syrup, drained , roughly chopped
- Put two saucers into the fridge or freezer or clip a sugar thermometer to the side of the preserving pan once the sugar has dissolved.
- Put the rhubarb, sugar, zests and juice into a preserving pan and over a low heat dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally.
- Turn up the heat and drop in the muslin wrapped ginger and bring to a fast boil for fifteen minutes (stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pan). Remove the muslin ( squeezing it against the side of the pan to extract all the juice , be careful it will be very hot) and add the stem ginger, stir and boil for a further five minutes or a little longer until setting point is reached.
- Check for setting point, if using the jam thermometer, the jam is ready when the temperature has reached 105℃ (221℉). If using the saucer test take the pan off the heat, put a spoonful of jam onto a chilled saucer and allow to cool. Push your finger through the middle of the cooled mixture and if it wrinkles as you do so it is ready. If not bring the jam back up to the boil, boil for another couple of minutes and try again.
- Allow the jam to cool slightly and ladle into sterilised jars, cover and label.
Oranges and ginger both help to compliment the flavour of rhubarb and the lemon juice helps the jam to set as rhubarb is low in pectin. You can use preserving sugar or granulated sugar for the making of this jam.
The zest of citrus fruits hold all their flavoursome essential oils and when added to the pan can make the difference between a good jam being transformed into a great jam.
Preserving with this first season rhubarb in February feels like a celebration,alike to making marmalade in January with the arrival of the Seville orange.
Happy preserving! Serving this rose coloured rhubarb jam up for tea with some warm homemade custard scones made with tinned custard! (shh, don’t tell anyone its one of my guilty pleasures! I don’t go as far as nipping downstairs in the middle of the night wearing silk pyjamas and eating it out of the tin with a naughty seductive smile, but I might if I had a pair, of silk pyjamas that is!) but they are delicious! Rhubarb and custard you can’t beat it!
I’ll post up the custard scones soon…..they were a successful experiment in the kitchen yesterday…
Thanks for popping in, see you soon….off for a dog walk now. Its been a beautiful sunny day and I can’t wait to see whats sprung up in the winter sun today in the fields and hedgerows.