Rhubarb and Ginger recipe Part 1
Rhubarb and ginger jam recipe Part 2
My recipe of how to make Rhubarb Jam should really be How to make Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, because to me Ginger is such an essential ingredient, that leaving it out would be strange.
Having grown up in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains of Co Tyrone in the centre of Mid Ulster province of Ireland, we were very far from any towns, or shops, so, being able to grow rhubarb in our farm garden, meant we had a ready supply of fresh rhubarb during the summer months, and by making jam, it lasted well into the following winter too.
Ginger was usually powdered, as it was not perishable, but I do also remember we used root ginger too for cooking.
I fondly remember the taste of homemade Soda Bread, home churned butter, and the Rhubarb Jam was also a real treat.
Very Simple ingredients required.
Use Equal Parts Rhubarb and Jam Sugar .. so if using two pounds of Rhubarb, then add a two pound bag of sugar.
Cut off the leaves and discard them, as they are known to be toxic, but can be put into compost.
Peel the skin off the rhubarb.
The rhubarb should be cut in approximately thumbnail lengths and placed in a heavy pan, but aluminum or reactive material pans are not recommended, as the rhubarb is acidic. Ideally use a heavy brass preserve pan, or a heavy enamel cast iron pan. it has to be heavy to avoid the sugar burning and sticking.
Add 50 ml of finely grated root ginger per two pound of fruit. but it is easier to add diced Stem Ginger, as it is softer and also will avoid possible stringiness of the root being found in the jam. The other alternative, is Powdered Ginger, but it will have less flavour, and should have been kept sealed and not lost its pungency.
Add the sugar to the fruit and if possible leave it to stand overnight so that the cut rhubarb softens while sitting in the sugar. if leaving it to stand, it should be stirred to mix, occasionally.
Whether leaving to stand, or not, is a matter of choice.
To ensure good setting, without having to boil too long, pectin should be added, as directed by the pectin product instructions.
As there is little or almost no Pectin in the rhubarb if none is added, more boiling is required, to reach setting point, so it is more difficult to retain the texture, and tart taste.
The Rhubarb, Ginger and Sugar mixture will need rapid boiling for about 15 mins per two pounds of fruit. And to reduce the forming of foam during cooking, it is worth adding a knob of butter, before starting to heat.
Once it appears to have softened the fruit, take a half of teaspoonful of the jam from the pan and let it cool for a few minutes, and test whether it is set by drawing a finger across the surface of the jam on the spoon, and if the surface wrinkles, it can be seen as being set.
If it appears not be be set, just boil for about five minutes longer, and test again till satisfied with set.
Then Pour the jam into sterilised jam jars and place tight fitting lids immediately so as to form a seal, and add labels when cooled.
The jam will normally last well into the following winter, so that the taste of summer can be experienced if the jam has not been over cooked and is still tart. The final colour should be a dark olive green, and have a thick syrup consistency with pieces of fruit still intact when spread on bread, then you will have had the same experience as I had in my Sperrin Mountains Childhood.