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Thursday 3 May 2012

Sluttishly Sweet: Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

Last year I planted a little rhubarb crown in my tiny veg patch, well now its a bit of a monster and I'm pretty sure, if left untamed, will soon be taking up residence in my living room and stealing my remote. Today I decided to show it who's boss so I opened up a can of Whoopass gave it its first pruning session. Despite still looking like a giant rhubarb monster I now had lots of rhubarb stalks to play with.

I like jam (a lot!) but I can't help tinkering with recipes so decided to try a bit of an experiment. I had picked up a couple of punnets of strawberries at the market that morning so decided to throw them into the pot. The vanilla and lavender were, like most of my kitchen experiments, just handy so in they went in too. I can honestly say it is my all time BEST JAM EVER! I love it when that happens!

You'll need: (this made about 5 standard jam jars full)
  • 600g chopped rhubarb (frozen is fine, but you might be able to find some decent fresh stuff around, we've had a strange spring)
  • 700g strawberries
  • 1.2kg sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tblsp lavender flowers (optional, you could use substitute 100g of the sugar for lavender sugar or leave out entirely. A few crushed cardamon seeds are also amazing in place of lavender or a bit of elderflower cordial, go crazy!)
  • pinch of salt
  • sterilised glass jars and lids
Make it!
  1. Put your rhubarb in a big saucepan and heat until its breaking down into puree then add your strawberries. I kept the strawberries whole as I wanted some chunks but it doesn't matter it will taste amazing either way!
  2. Add your sugar, vanilla, lavender flowers and a pinch of salt and let it bubble away. It will spit and its REALLY hot so rest a lid over the top but don't cover completely (and wear long sleeves to help prevent any burning jam missiles landing on you).
  3. Let it bubble away for about 10 minutes. The best way to check if its ready is to pop a saucer in the freezer, every now and then put a bit of your mixture on the saucer and when it has reached a setting point it will wrinkle up when pushed. Pectin varies so don't worry if it takes a while, some jams I've made took 30 mins to finally get there, just watch that it doesn't burn, turn the heat down and keep checking.
  4. When its ready pour into your sterilised jars and admire your awesomeness!
I've made loads of jams and chutneys and despite using the same recipe and method as when they turned out perfect, sometimes they just refuse to set for ages. Using sugar with added pectin helps as some fruits (like rhubarb) are low in pectin. Some people add some cloudy apple juice to the mixture to boost the pectin but my recipe makes a jam that is bursting with strawberry and rhubarb flavours. If its still refusing to set after 30min I often bung an extra cup of sugar in and give it a little while longer. And hey, a perfect set isn't vital, a jam that tastes all kinds of awesome but hasn't fully set hard is still pretty damn perfect in my book!


  1. This sounds delicious!

    I was given some damson jam that hadn't set properly and use it as a sauce for ice cream or pancakes or instead of mint sauce with lamb.

    1. mmm Damson Jam sauce on ice cream...*heads out to buy ice cream immediately*

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