Sweeter Easter: Rhubarb vanilla jam
One of my favourite ways to extend the enjoyment of the forced rhubarb season. Instead of using a jam sugar, which has added pectin to ensure a nice set, I use a little lemon juice. This adds brightness – though it’s a slightly softer set compared to a commercially made jam.
MAKES about 900g
665g rhubarb, cut into small pieces
665g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Place a small side plate in the freezer for testing the set.
- Using warm soapy water, clean your jars and lids. Rinse with hot water, then place the jars on to a baking tray. Put in the oven until the jars are dry, about 10 minutes. Place the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water, draining when needed.
- Put the rhubarb in a large saucepan along with the sugar and lemon juice then place over a low/medium heat to cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches 105C on an instant read or jam thermometer (about 5-7 minutes).
- To test the set without a thermometer, turn off the heat and remove the side plate from the freezer then spoon on a little bit of jam. Put the plate in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Once chilled, push the jam with your finger: if it wrinkles the jam is ready; if it’s still liquid then cook for a little while longer until the jam passes this test.
- Remove the jam from the heat and stir through the vanilla bean paste. Ladle the jam into the jars and carefully seal while the jam is still hot.
- Store in the cupboard for a couple of months. Once opened, refrigerate and use within a couple of weeks.