Friday, 28 May 2010


On the spine of a small paperback, nestled between a Larousse and Jamie Oliver on my kitchen bookshelf, in a disapproving font is the title The Right Way to Make Jams. My good intentions of following the seasons are yielding mixed results. I cooked up some sprats last week which although very fiddly to gut and prep were totally worth the fuss. However, the plan for piccalilli has been less fruitful as I forgot about the cauliflower and it went an interesting shade of taupe. So I failed there, but I was determined yesterday to redeem myself and get jamming! The rhubarb plant at my parents house is enormous, the rhubarb stalks are bigger than my arms, maybe it's because it's right next to the compost heap-or because my parents (being very well educated in the science field) have phenomenally green fingers. As you'll imagine I put up no resistance to the offer to take some back home with me. Eager to fill my Le Parfait jars with something other than dries chilies, Cassia bark or cumin I flicked through a National Trust hardback of Jams, Preserves and Edible Gifts to find some technical guidance. Yesterday I was in a defiant almost teenage sort of mood & did not want to leave the house except to faff about in the garden planting herbs and gently encouraging a pea plant to climb up a knitting needle. So, when the recipes started telling me about the lack of pectin and thus the necessity for jam sugar and lemons I switched off. I was not going to go to the shops. After the piccalilli fiasco I was determined that jam would be made today with or without the right ingredients. When the recipe then told me to soak the rhubarb overnight I let out an expletive. Right, I decided that it couldn't make that much difference and ruthlessly went ahead anyway. I took inspiration from the recipes I found but my lack of jam making
paraphernalia dictated that I made my own way, possibly the wrong way:

Rhubarb, Ginger & Apple Jam
1lb of granulated sugar
1lb of light muscovado
2lb of rhubarb cut into 1inch pieces
2 cooking apples peeled, cored and cut into pieces
1inch piece of fresh Ginger peeled and finely sliced.
Stir all the ingredients together in a large pan add a cup of water
and bring to the boil. Allow all the fruit to soften and remove from
the heat when the mixture starts to become thick, careful not to let
it burn. Allow to cool slightly and divvy up into jam jars.
No idea how long it will keep but I've written the date I made it on the jar and will let you know on which day it goes green (if i don't eat it all first!)

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