Rhubarb is a much underrated fruit (or should I say vegetable?). It is really much more versatile than some would have you think. And it’s a veg patch winner because it needs little or no attention and returns year after year. What could be better?
I first made this jam at a Summer Preserves class a few years ago. I’d have gone with 2/3 rhubarb to 1/3 strawberries but one of the guests was not so keen on rhubarb so we made it the other way round. As both strawberries and rhubarb are low in pectin we used a jam sugar, which has pectin added, and the juice of a lemon. I find the lemon also adds to the flavour, giving it an extra lift on the palate. I don’t like a hard set jam so we used 10% less sugar than fruit as opposed to the normal 1:1 fruit:sugar ratio.
The result was a scarlet to light pink jewel of a preserve with pieces of strawberry and rhubarb glistening prettily in it. And the flavour was superb! The rhubarb lifts the flavour of the strawberry giving it a certain je ne sais quoi without being brutishly rhubarby! And whilst I know it would also have been fabulous with 2/3 rhubarb to 1/3 strawberry I am glad that we chose these proportions. So if you’d like to have a go, here’s what we did!
Strawberry and Rhubarb summer jam
- 1 kg strawberries, hulled
- 500gr rhubarb chopped into 3/4″ pieces
- 1350gr jam sugar (with added pectin)
- Juice of a lemon
- First put a saucer in the freezer ready to test for a set.
- Prep the fruit, and add with the sugar and lemon juice to a large heavy based pan or preserving pan. Leave to macerate for an hour or so, stirring from time to time to combine and begin to dissolve the sugar.
- Then heat the fruit and sugar gently to soften the fruit further and dissolve the sugar.
- Once it is all dissolved turn the heat up high and bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally and watching carefully.
- Test for a set after 5 minutes by dropping a teaspoon of the jam onto the saucer and pushing with your finger. If it wrinkles it’s ready. If not keep testing every minute or so.
- Once setting point is reached leave to cool slightly before potting in clean sterilised jars. Makes 6 jars of beautiful, summery, fresh tasting jam.
This jam would be equally delicious with differing proportions of the fruit. Just maintain 9/10 sugar to fruit and you’ll be fine!