I’ve made jam….

… I know it’s not that revolutionary but for me it is a huge achievement.  My track record on preserves in recent years has been disastrous.  There was the marmalade which burnt and had black bits in it and last summer I tried to make damson jam, over cooked it and ended up with damson glue which was stiff enough to bend spoons!!  I used to be able to make jam years back and I have a proper preserving pan and thermometer etc so I am determined to get my jam mojo back so to speak.

Anyway, I have been harvesting rhubarb from the allotment for the first time ever in recent weeks.  I planted two plants last year and was very good not pulling any stems in order to give the plants a chance to establish.  I have mulched them both with spent hops and manure and they have rewarded me with lots and lots of stems.  A conversation on twitter and the prospect of a few days off work with rain forecast brought the idea of rhubarb jam into my head.  Dare I try again?  Anyway, a recipe was recommended for rhubarb and ginger jam and I bought the rest of the ingredients.

It did seem a rather strange way to make jam to me.  I had to cut up the rhubarb and macerate it with jam sugar, lemon juice and zest, stem and root ginger.  There was a lot of ginger and the smell was quite overwhelming.  I was worried that the ginger would drown out the delicate rhubarb flavour.  Anyway, you leave the mix for two hours so the flavours combine.  Then you put it in the preserving pan, heat, dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil and heat until setting point is reached.   This is where it normally goes horribly wrong.  Despite the jam not reaching the ‘jam’ point on the thermometer I set the timer as the instructions suggested and then did the set test and lo and behold I had wrinkly jam.

I even think I have the right quantity at the end of the day.  The recipe says 4 x 450g jars and given the different size jars I have I think I am more of less there.  Tasting the jam I needn’t have worried as the ginger has mellowed and just warms the rhubarb rather than overwhelming it.  I shall now write some labels for the jars but first I think I need some crusty bread.

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. I use Mrs. Beeton’s recipe for rhubarb and ginger jam, and it’s so wonderful, especially with a cup of Earl Grey. (Her recipe is rather heavy on the ginger, so it needs something that can stand up to that flavour. Coffee tastes horrible with that jam, I find!)

  2. You must have a great sense of achievement! The first time I made strawberry jam it worked like a charm so I was horrified that subsequent attempts set like glue. It put me off so I’m very impressed that you’ve given it another go. I. Might have to do the same in the summer.

  3. lindasgarden says:

    lovely Helen

  4. PJ Girl says:

    I share your experiences! My first attempt at Marmalade was so runny that I could pour it onto toast in the morning… I then overcompensated and made some sliceable damson jam! Maybe I need to just find a recipe that is right for me… and this one sounds lovely!

  5. Donna says:

    I loved the bit where you say “This is where it normally goes horribly wrong” – total comedy classic!

  6. Mark and Gaz says:

    Having never made Jam, I would imagine my own experience would be closer to the horribly wrong experience!

  7. Libby says:

    Rhubarb and ginger sounds like a delicious combo. I don’t usually like preserves (I wish I did!) but that does sound good.

  8. elaine says:

    I love rhubarb and ginger jam – my neighbour gave me some and she even managed to keep tiny lumps of rhubarb in it instead of it going all stringy. I don’t make much jam anymore as I have jams in my preserves cupboard from about five years back.

  9. Christina says:

    Result! Helen. I love making jams but we actually don’t eat that many any more so I often give lots away to friends, this is not as wasteful as it seems because they then give me fruit I don’t have so I can make other kinds of jam and have variety in the cupboard instead of just one kind! A friend just gave me some Seville oranges (a bit late really) and I made marmelade which I find is the most difficult kind of preserve – it was OK (not as good as my mother in law’s but a lovely tangy taste and good colour. Marrow and ginger is also lovely, it used to be my favourite jam. If you’re growing marrows I really recommend it. Christina

  10. Holleygarden says:

    Yum! Oh, definitely get that bread out – I love jam most when it’s still warm from being made. Enjoy!

  11. Oooh yummy! Good on you!

  12. You just need to give your “failed” experiments better press. Runny jam is Ice Cream sauce, over thick is Fruit Gelee. Burnt bits? Not a problem, we’ll call it “Louisiana Blackened Orange Spread” Voila you’ve gone from shame to chic in the blink of an eye. ; )

  13. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi from Yvonne – NZ – from opposite season – There were some interesting recipes in the paper this week – Feijoa and vanilla jelly -quince and ginger paste (easier than I have seen before) – I used to make a beautiful quince jelly when I had a quince tree – and a pear, brown sugar an orange jam (thought lemon and fresh ginger added would be great) Our garden club visited a large two and a half hect garden (in West Auckland) the other day. It is run by a trust and volunteers and also has an enclosed butterfly house with monarch butterflies. More luck as the horrid paper wasp can’t attach the caterpillars. I went up to Mangawhai Beach with my husband for a couple of days. Mangawhai is about one and three quarter hours north of Auckland, lovely rural beach village (tho’ growing!!) lovely surf beach, huge estuary sand hills, cafes, best art shop in NZ and a wonderful chocolate kitchen and cafe. Naturally we had to have their amazing hot choc and buy choc to take home. We stayed at a friends botanic paradise and picked feijoas, apples an tangeloes. My sister-in-law had hired a home for the week and celebrated her ‘big 70’ there with family and friends. If anyone visits NZ a ‘must see’ destination.

  14. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi again from Yvonne – Not sure if you know much about feijoas. They were originally from Sth America and grow like crazy here in the North of NZ. One bush can supply several families. They are quite tart, green skin and flesh. Amazing smell. I like them scooped out raw, stewed, good for chutneys, jam. You don’t pick them – you pick them up off ground when ripe. Short season. Not sure if they reach your shores as quite tender and go off quite quikcly.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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