Rhubarb Jam

If you have read my rhubarb crumble recipe, you know I bought a huge amount of fresh rhubarb. I froze a whole lot of it, since making a ton of rhubarb recipes in one week wouldn't have been yummy. The only problem with freezing 2 kilograms: we have a small freezer. So when my dad made spaghetti sauce some weeks ago, we had a problem. He always makes enough for about a month (we eat spaghetti each friday) and freezes it. Now, the freezer was already filled with rhubarb. That's why my mom asked me to please make something with the leftover rhubarb.

I have always wanted to make my own jam. Sometimes I think I'm an old lady in a young body - I like baking, knitting and reading. I love the thought that back in the day, women made their own jam and stored them for latter use. I know my grandma still does - when I was young, I saw the jars stored in their garage, waiting to be used.

I don't really eat jam myself, but my mom does regularly. I decided that since she has tried a lot of jams, she would be the perfect person to try out mine. I used a traditional recipe that calls for gelling sugar (specially made for jam making) and it uses a 1:1 ratio for fruit and sugar.

I definitely want to experiment with other recipes that involve less sugar -you'll see them passing- but for my first time, I decided the traditional one would probably be the most likely one not to fail. And it didn't! If you can't find any gelling sugar, you could also use regular sugar and pectin for this recipe. Apparently, rhubarb naturally doesn't contain a lot of pectin and that is why you need to use gelling sugar. Always check to see whether you need it! Some fruits already contain enough pectin.

I must admit: I'm proud of it. I made some cute labels through a free website, Jam Labelizer. I made enough for 6 jars of jam, so I gave 4 of them away to my grandparents. They loved it too! If you aren't a fan of rhubarb, this probably isn't something for you. But I personally adore the combination of the tangy rhubarb and sweetness of the sugar. I must say, for this fruit you definitely have to use this amount of sugar, or it would be too sour.

Although it looks like you put a lot of work in these, they're actually really easy. So try these asap and impress some people! Now I'm thinking of it, these would make great birthday presents too.. Enjoy!

P.S.: mine says: Homemade Rhubarb Jam, June 2013 - made with love - Helen Jacobs

for approximately 6 jars
  • 2 kilograms of rhubarb
  • 2 kilograms of gelling sugar
Cut up your rhubarb in pieces, about 2 cm wide. The pieces get softer once you cook them, but if you really hate chunks, you could chop these up even more.

Combine the rhubarb chunks and the gelling sugar in a big bowl and let it rest for 6 hours. This way, the fruit and sugar can combine easily and soak up more flavour.

Put your mixture in a sauce pan on high heat. The pan ideally is quite wide, so the bottom is easily heated and not too high. Keep stirring until the mixture starts boiling. Once it boils, turn the heat down and let it cook for 4 minutes, while stirring often. Mine cooked for longer than 4 minutes, because I wanted the rhubarb chunks to soften a little bit more, since I made them quite big.

When the jam is ready, let cool for 10 minutes. It won't be cooled completely, but pour in sterilised jars after 10 minutes. Look further down to see how to sterilise jars. When the warm jam is poured in, screw on the lid very good and turn them upside down. The jars will 'suck' themselves airtight, so they can be stored up to one year.

Once a jar is opened, consume within 3 weeks. Put on some freshly baked toast and enjoy!

How to sterilise jars:
Put the jars in a cold oven and put the heat on 120°C/240°F. The jars should be heated for 30 minutes. Afterwards, let them cool down completely and just let them stand there right before you want to pour in your jam.

Before you pour the jam in, 'clean' the jars with hot water from the tap - the hottest you can get. Do not use a towel to dry them, because they won't be sterilised anymore. They will air dry very quickly thanks to the warmth of the water. As soon as they are dry, they are ready to be used.

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