A few months ago, when I ‘officially’ started the bread delivery side of mountain bakery, I got all excited about the little seasonal tasty extra treats that I’d be able to make and give to my customers. My mind was full of ideas for spreads, jams, compotes and chutneys all designed to complement my baking – I could hardly sleep for excitement! This recipe for springtime rhubarb and vanilla jam is the first of my little complimentary extra treats, and so far has been received really well by my customers.
It’s a really simple recipe, adapted from here, but adjusted slightly, as I prefer my rhubarb a little more tart so that you can really appreciate the flavour. In Britain, Rhubarb is the only fruit in season during late winter/early spring so we have to make the most of it, before it disappears again until next year!
Spingtime rhubarb & vanilla jam a la mountain bakery:
- 650g washed and trimmed rhubarb, cut into inch long pieces
- 500g jam sugar with added pectin
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 large juicy lemon
- Sterilised jam jars
Put the rhubarb chunks in a pan over a low heat and add the sugar. Stir occasionally, and you should start to see the fruit softening. Slice the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the beans, adding the beans and pod to the cooking mixture.
Press down firmly and roll the lemon on your work surface, this well help to destroy any hard fibres inside and make it easier to squeeze. Add the juice and pulp the pan and stir gently. The lemon juice not only helps with setting the jam, but it also preserves the lovely pink colour of the stalks.
Leave over a low heat for 30 minutes or so, and then increase the temperature to 100 degrees centigrade, at which point take the jam off the heat and leave to settle for about 15 minutes, until it’s cooled slightly. Remove and discard the vanilla pod before decanting into sterilised jars. If using jars with lids, rather than waxed paper, turn the jars upside-down to create a good seal and make your jam last longer.
The temptation with this jam is to eat it soon after making, but it’s best left to sit and mature for at least a couple of weeks, giving the vanilla time to come into its own. Enjoy!