Time to jam!
The crumbles and cakes have been going down very well, but then we discovered monster rhubarb on the new vineyard plot! So it was time to made rhubarb jam - to be enjoyed later in the year, when the rhubarb is over. After the end of June, you can't eat it any more, as the oxalic acid present in the leaves (which make them poisonous), also becomes present in the stalks. So lets make jam while we can!
You need an equal weight of sugar to fruit (yes, it does look a lot!)
We had 1kg chopped rhubarb, and so 1kg of granulated sugar.
Add the juice and rind of an orange.
You won't need to add any more liquid, just heat everything together very gently in a jam pan or large, heavy bottomed saucepan, until the juice starts to come out of the fruit. Continue cooking it gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Then heat it more vigorously until it has reached its setting point. You don't need a thermometer - after about five minutes, take a little of the mixture out with a teaspoon, and put it onto a cold saucer. It will cool very quickly, and if it's ready to jam you'll be able to tell if you push it gently with your finger - the surface wrinkles and it's obviously thick and sticky.
If it's still too runny, boil it for a few minutes more and test it again. Don't leave it unattended and do check it often - it will start to burn and catch on the bottom of the pan if your're not careful!
When it's ready, you need to put it into jam jars that have been washed,
and sterilised, by heating them to about 90 degrees C in the oven. This has the advantage of making sure they don't crack when you put hot jam into them.
Be really careful - hot jam and hot glass are a dangerous combination! Ideally, use a jam funnel and small ladle, or decant the jam into a plastic jug to pour it into the jars (let it cool a little first, or you'll melt the jug).
If you have wax discs for jam, put one on the top of the jam before you put the lid on. Don't forget to label it - we have a collection of mystery jams and chutneys!