I have had a problem with jams and marmalades for years – even those made with apparently all-safe ingredients have made me react in the past. But not this one! I have finally found one that my mouth seems to tolerate. Unfortunately it’s not commonly available in the shops, so you have to make your own.
Jam-making isn’t difficult but it can be rather messy, and since the jam has to be very hot, it’s not something to do with small children underfoot. Before you start, you need a cooking thermometer, a deep sided, stainless steel pan, 2 – 4 clean jam jars (depending on their size), and some grease proof or waxed paper. The method includes instructions for sterilising the jam jars but you can skip these if you’re a regular jam maker and have your own sterilising techniques.
Note that this jam is NOT suitable for citric acid allergy sufferers. Also, depending on how sensitive you are to apples, the pectin in the sugar might make you react. I personally have been fine with it.
600g fresh rhubarb (pre-peeled if outside skin is very stringy)
50g fresh angelica stalks (or if not available, another 50g rhubarb)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus abut 1 tbsp of lemon juice
650g jam sugar (with added pectin and citric acid)
- trim the angelica into small pieces. If you’ve got older, more woody stalks, put into a small pan with enough water to cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until softened. Drain well once soft. If they are young, tender stalks, or if you cannot find fresh angelica, go straight to step 2.
- Make sure your jam jars are clean and damp. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven. Set the temperature to 160 degrees and leave the jars to sterilise whilst preparing the jam. At the same time, put the jar lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave the lids under the water until needed.
- wash the rhubarb and trim to 2 centimetre/1 inch lengths.
- place angelica, rhubarb, ginger, lemon rind and juice and sugar into a large preserving pan. Heat slowly until sugar is dissolved.
- Clip thermometer to side of pan and raise temperature until jam mixture comes to a rolling boil. This means that it bubbles freely, and may come quite high up your pan. Do not turn the heat down, but leave it to boil! Watch the thermometer and when the jam reaches 105 degrees exactly, remove from heat.
- while jam is bubbling, cut sufficient discs of greaseproof or waxed paper to fit across the necks of your jam jars. Keep to one side
- Take jars from oven, and holding them steady with a tea towel, ladle the hot jam into the jars. Keep your hands well away and don’t hold them using oven gloves – the jam is scalding and will go through most gloves if you spill it.
- Using a couple of teaspoons so as to keep fingers safe, position a paper disc of the top of the jam in each pot. Drain water from the pan that had the lids in it, and using a second teatowel, fasten lids to the tops of each jam jar.
- Leave to cool completely before cleaning the sides of the jars and labelling. Do not wipe with a wet cloth whilst hot or else you will crack the jar.