According to my latest copy of Country Living, rhubarb is not really in season until later in the Spring. But we live on the edge of the Rhubarb Triangle, and so we can buy a lot of early forced rhubarb very cheaply in our local greengrocers. I wouldn't buy it from the supermarket, where it is incredibly expensive at the moment.
I used around 950g or 2lbs of rhubarb and this gave me three and a half jars of jam (my jam jars held 300ml). I wish I'd bought and made more as I always think if you're going to make jam, you may as well go the whole hog and make a vat of it. There is something so pleasing about seeing rows of filled jars lined up on the shelf. The ginger gives the jam a pleasant spicy warmth and a bit of a kick - it does not dominate the sharply sweet rhubarb flavour.
- around 1kg or just over 2lbs of rhubarb
- the same amount of sugar ( I used preserving sugar as I never seem to have much luck getting jam to set, but you could use ordinary sugar and add pectin if it's not setting)
- the juice of 2 lemons
- 100g chopped crystallised (candied) ginger
- a chunk of fresh ginger
The yield depends on the size of your jars but this amount should fill four 250 ml jam jars.
Wash and trim the rhubard, then chop into one inch chunks. Mix in a large bowl with the sugar and lemon juice and leave to stand for an hour or so.
Finely chop the crystallised ginger.
Put all the ingredients in to a large jam pan or stock pot and slowly bring to the boil. Cook until "setting point" is reached.
When it's ready, use a jam funnel to pour the jam into the sterilised jam jars. (Oh, what a revelation the jam funnel was! No more sticky jam jars.)
And now for the fun bit...prettifying the jam jars. I'm not ashamed to admit that this is the part I enjoy most. I chose fabric and ribbon in pinks and greens to "echo" the colour of the rhubarb. I possibly do need to get out more. Someone once gave me a jar of home-made chutney (green tomato - it was delicious) but the jar still had the old label on the front, half torn off, with the new contents written over the top, and I thought...why? Why go to all the trouble and effort of making the chutney but take no pleasure in the presentation? Maybe I am superficial. I do hope not.
I'd like to have a go at making my own labels on the computer. If anyone has any tips of how to do that, I'd love to hear them.