Gardening Magazine

I’ve Made Jam….

By Patientgardener @patientgardener

I’ve made jam….

… I know it’s not that revolutionary but for me it is a huge achievement.  My track record on preserves in recent years has been disastrous.  There was the marmalade which burnt and had black bits in it and last summer I tried to make damson jam, over cooked it and ended up with damson glue which was stiff enough to bend spoons!!  I used to be able to make jam years back and I have a proper preserving pan and thermometer etc so I am determined to get my jam mojo back so to speak.

Anyway, I have been harvesting rhubarb from the allotment for the first time ever in recent weeks.  I planted two plants last year and was very good not pulling any stems in order to give the plants a chance to establish.  I have mulched them both with spent hops and manure and they have rewarded me with lots and lots of stems.  A conversation on twitter and the prospect of a few days off work with rain forecast brought the idea of rhubarb jam into my head.  Dare I try again?  Anyway, a recipe was recommended for rhubarb and ginger jam and I bought the rest of the ingredients.

It did seem a rather strange way to make jam to me.  I had to cut up the rhubarb and macerate it with jam sugar, lemon juice and zest, stem and root ginger.  There was a lot of ginger and the smell was quite overwhelming.  I was worried that the ginger would drown out the delicate rhubarb flavor.  Anyway, you leave the mix for two hours so the flavours combine.  Then you put it in the preserving pan, heat, dissolve the sugar, bring to the boil and heat until setting point is reached.   This is where it normally goes horribly wrong.  Despite the jam not reaching the ‘jam’ point on the thermometer I set the timer as the instructions suggested and then did the set test and lo and behold I had wrinkly jam.

I’ve made jam….

I even think I have the right quantity at the end of the day.  The recipe says 4 x 450g jars and given the different size jars I have I think I am more of less there.  Tasting the jam I needn’t have worried as the ginger has mellowed and just warms the rhubarb rather than overwhelming it.  I shall now write some labels for the jars but first I think I need some crusty bread.


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