With the coming and going of each month we also have a change in fruits and vegetables fresh from the fields available in stores and markets. One of them is Rhubarb, which usually comes in season mid/end of March. It can be very tricky to grow Rhubarb, as it can’t be eaten if it’s damaged by severe cold, as it may be high in oxalic acid, which comes down from the leaves and can cause illness. That’s why apart from field-grown rhubarb you can also get forced rhubarb, which some consider to taste better than ‘normal’ rhubarb. Now don’t worry about the word ‘forced’, no one is doing anything unhealthy here! All they do when forcing rhubarb is putting it inside and deprive it of light, so they shoot upwards looking for light, which results in a more delicate flavour and sourness although it still needs extra sweetness. These are of course available for a longer period, compared to traditionally grown rhubarb.
It’s not a hugely popular vegetable, I’ll give you that, as many people are simply not sold on the flavour. I wasn’t used to eating it either, but I discovered how much I like it last year as I made Rhubarb Oatmeal Cookies, Rhubarb, Strawberry and Mint Limenade and my absolute favourite: Rhubarb – Plum tart. Rhubarb itself is very sour, but as I usually combine it with sweet ingredients the result is sweet instead of sour.
When I saw that rhubarb was back on the market I immediately bought a bunch without really knowing what to make with it. I decided to try making some jam again, after previously making plum jam nearly 2 years ago. Making rhubarb jam is slightly different than other jams as it has less pectin in it (same as for Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, Raspberries, Rhubarb and Strawberries). Pectin, combined with sugar when heated it causes a thickening that is characteristic of jams & jellies. As Rhubarb doesn’t have it, I’ve soaked the rhubarb in jam sugar (which has pectin in it too), vinegar and juice. However you can also make it with normal sugar, but you’ll just have to boil it for longer later).
Makes: 1 lovely jar of jam, around 0,35l
- 450g rhubarb
- 35ml rasberry vinegar
- 250g jam sugar
- 200g strawberries
- 25ml lemon juice
Remove the leaves and bottom of the rhubarb, wash it thoroughly and slice it up in chunks of about 2 cm.
Put it in a bowl along with sugar, vinegar and lemon juice and let it stand for 1,5-2 hours.
Heat up a pot and add your mixture and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until you’ve reached the thinkness you prefer. If it’s too thick you can add water, if it’s too thin you can add more sugar and leave it boil for longer. Also make sure to taste it, as some people may prefer more lemon juice and others more of a sweet flavour. You can always add more sugar or more juice depending on how you prefer it.
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