Garden rhubarb, I have a crop that despite all odds returns to the bottom of my fascinating garden every year, greeting me with its joyous pink hue. I’m no gardening enthusiast by any means but I can’t help but be impressed with the perseverance of nature right outside my back door. Over the years living in my little house, I have discovered peaches, raspberries, blackcurrants, grapes, wild strawberries & of course, rhubarb, all growing happily without my assistance or intervention. I am very grateful (I have vowed to fully embrace my old woman ways & take up gardening in 2017).
Every year this leaves me with a determination to use up my gardens abundance. Cakes, jam, crumbles & tarts have all been filled with my little crop of jewelled fruit. This year I decided to improve on a jam which I made with last years crop, rhubarb jam. Never judging a book by its cover, rhubarb looses its iconic pink & makes for a rather brown jam, this is no reflection of its joyful flavour though which dominantly remains. The addition of elderflower was inspired by the selection of local preserves on offer at the markets of early summer, although elderflower is a welcome addition to anything in my opinion (elderflower icing is perfectly acceptable to be consumed on its own). It’s a wonderful partner for sourdough toast & a pot of earl grey, fully enabling you to hold on to that last shred of summer that remains. My jars are eagerly awaiting ornate labels in preparation to be put into hiding for the festive period (it’s never too early to plan ahead, right?).
RHUBARB & ELDERFLOWER JAM
- 1.7 kg rhubarb, washed, trimmed & roughly chopped into 2cm chunks
- 1.6 kg granulated sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 160ml elderflower cordial
(*Tip: place a small saucer into the freezer to help test the jam later)
- Tip the rhubarb, sugar & lemon juice into a maslin pan or large heavy bottomed saucepan
- Gently cook over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved & the rhubarb begins to break down
- Add a sugar thermometer to the pan & bring the mixture to the boil
- Hard boil the mixture for about 10 minutes & add the elderflower cordial
- Continue to boil the mixture until it reaches 102°C on the thermometer (about 20 minutes)
- Test to see if setting point has been reached by placing a small drop onto the chilled saucer, push your finger through the jam, if it wrinkles, it’s done. If not continue cooking for a further a few minutes & test again
- Leave the jam to cool for about 10 minutes before potting up into clean, sterilised jars
Great on toasted sourdough