Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rhubarb and Orange Jam

I have a confession to make. Well, two actually. Here's the big one....

I used to have a fear of rhubarb (so far as I'm aware there is no scientific term for this). I was born in the late 1970s and anyone of a similar age or older may recall the early 1980s BBC adaptation of Day of the Triffids. They looked a bit (at least to my toddler eyes) like giant, terrifying, pieces of rhubarb. Enough said. I refused to touch the stuff or be anywhere near it. Once, back in the days before I was Mrs M, Mr M chased me around the fruit and veg section of Sainsbury's on Clapham High Street with a bunch of rhubarb.

Forward a few years and one of our good friends (who had forgotten about my crazy rhubarb terror) cooked us dinner and presented us with rhubarb for dessert. I reminded him of my fear but said I'd try it anyway, and guess what? It was gorgeous. Hmmmm.

It's taken me a while to get around to the position where I'm willing to have it in my kitchen but the fear has now gone (stick with me please - I can see you edging towards the door...) and I'm now looking for nice things to do with it.

The second confession isn't really as bad... I don't cook (as such, I'll try the odd cake or biscuit recipe and I cook the dinner when I have to). So, this fab recipe for rhubarb and orange jam is from my Mum. It started when I was looking for something to do with rhubarb in the summer and made a compote with orange (yes, I did cook that myself) - Mum's a keen jam maker, as they have heaps of fruit and veg growing in their garden, so she decided to give this a try. It's delish. Here's the recipe...

Rhubarb and Orange Jam

1.4 kg rhubarb (cut up)
1.4 kg sugar (I use granulated)
2 small lemons
2 large oranges

Cut the rhubarb into small pieces and put into a preserving pan with the
sugar. Heat slowly until the sugar is dissolved, stirring all the time.

Add the Lemon juice and finely grated rind, plus the finely grated rind of
the oranges. Boil until the mixture sets when tested, skimming if
necessary. Pour the jam into warm dry jars. Cover at once.

I use the wrinkle test to check that it is set. Teaspoon of mixture onto a
cold plate and check that it wrinkles when it has cooled a bit. Not very
scientific and I am sure there are other methods!

Once you've made the jam you'll be left with the insides of the oranges so why not squeeze them and treat yourself to a fresh orange juice (goes really well alongside the jam on toast too!). 

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