Rhubarb Jam

Sweet and sticky jam, made with tart chunks of fresh rhubarb.

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As we are now in full rhubarb season, I decided to make some rhubarb jam. I have used a recipe from the river cottage preserves book which is really simple, but works so well.

Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits, so I have kept this jam super simple, and just used rhubarb and sugar. I can’t wait to use it in some rhubarb themed cakes!

Variations: you could add some other fruit to the rhubarb jam like raspberries or strawberries. Some orange juice would also work well, or some rose petals, thrown in at the end.

Ingredients: Makes Two 300g jars

  • 500g Rhubarb
  • 300g Jam Sugar

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To Make:

In a large pan, cover the bottom with a layer of jam sugar, then add a layer of rhubarb, followed by sugar etc. until you have used up all the rhubarb and sugar, I think I ended up with about 3 rhubarb layers.

Leave the pan for a few hours, this gives time for all the juices to come out of the rhubarb. After a few hours you should be able to see the sugar is wet with the rhubarb juices.

Cook the rhubarb over a high heat until. The chunks of rhubarb are tender and some of them begin to break down.

Check the jam is set by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate. If it sets on the plate then the jam is ready!

Pour the hot jam into sterilized jam jars and seal tightly. The jam should keep for about 6 months. Once opened store in the fridge and it will keep for a few weeks.

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Elderflower Cordial

Sweet and citrusy cordial, flavoured with fragrant and lemony elderflowers.

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All along the roadsides and hedges at this time of year, the green bushes are decorated with the white plumes of the elderflower. I have been waiting (very impatiently!) for the elderflowers to appear this year, so I was delighted when I started to see them popping out over the last few weeks.

This weekend, equipped with three plastic carrier bags, we went searching for elderflowers, on a walk through the country side, and returned with enough elderflowers to make 8 bottles of cordial, and even a cheeky elderflower gin (post coming soon!).

You can recognise elderflowers easily. They are small trees/bushes, with big clusters of very small creamy white flowers. Try to pick them on a dry day, and they are supposed to be at their best when they still have a few unopened buds on the flower head. Even if you have never noticed them before, if you go on a walk in the countryside, you are bound to find at least a few big bushes!

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Most recipes for elderflower cordial use citric acid as a preservative, but I couldn’t get hold of any in time, so I have used campden tablets instead. However I do think that means that I needed to use a lot more lemon juice to get the balance of flavour right!

Having said that, I am really pleased with my elderflower cordial, it tastes so much better than the cordial you buy in the shops, and we managed to get through an entire bottle in just one week! I’m looking forward to using it to liven up cocktails and even to flavour cakes and biscuits over the summer.

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Ingredients: Makes Two 750ml Bottles:

  • 50 elderflower heads
  • 8 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 600g sugar
  • 1 Campden tablet (optional)

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To Make:

Wash the elderflowers under some cold water and remove any insects.

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Remove as much stem as possible and transfer the flowers to a 1.5L jar, with the zest of 1 lemons and 1 lime. Quarter the zested fruit and add to the flowers.

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Pour 750ml cold water over the flours and seal. Leave to infuse in the fridge for 24 hours.

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Drain the elderflower liquid through a muslin bag and transfer to a large pan.

Add 500g of sugar and the juice of 8 lemons to the elderflower water (squeeze out the juice of the lemon and lime from the infusion aswell!), and heat until the sugar has dissolved Taste now to check it is sweet/sour enough for you.

Stir through one crushed camden tablet, and pour into sterilised glass bottles and seal.

The cordial should keep for up to 6 months if you use the campden tablets. If not, it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

Serve with fizzy water and ice, for a deliciously refreshing summer drink.

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Pineapple and Lime Jam

Tropical , fruity jam, made with sweet pineapple and tangy lime.

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Its been quite a while since I made my last preserve, so when I came across some little pineapples on offer in the supermarket a few weeks ago, I decided I’d have a go at making a pineapple jam.

I had no idea how it would turn out, as I’ve never tried a pineapple jam before, so I was really pleased with the result, the jam tasted deliciously tropical, and the limes just take the edge off the sweetness!

The jam tastes lovely on a piece of toast, but I’m looking forward to making some tropical themed cakes with it. I’m going to try out pina colada cupcakes tonight, so keep an eye out for that post this week!

Variations: Adding some creamed coconut to the jam could be nice – it would end up tasting like a pina colada! Or if you are feeling particularly adventurous, a bit of finely chopped fresh chilli would spice it up nicely!

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Ingredients: Makes Two 220g Jars

  • 1 small pineapple, chopped into evenly sized small chunks
  • The juice and zest of three limes
  • 300g Jam Sugar

To Make:

Combine all ingredients for the jam in a large pan with a small splash of water

Cook over a medium heat for arround 30-40 minutes, untill the mixture has reduced down and is starting to set at the sides.

Use a hand blender to blend the jam, in a few short pulses, so that there are a few chunks of pineapple left.

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Test the jam, by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate, to see if it is ready to set. (If not, continue to cook, until the liquid has reduced down further).

Pour the hot jam into two 225g sterilized jars and seal tightly,leave to set overnight before using.

This jam will keep in the fridge, once opened for around 2-3 weeks.

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Spiced Orange Jam

Sweet and Sour Orange Jam Spiced with Aromatic Star Anise, Cinnamon, Stem Ginger and Vanilla.

Even after making three jars of Seville orange curd, I still had around 300ml of Seville orange juice and zest stored in the freezer waiting to be used. When I came across some cheap clementines in the supermarket, I decided to use them, with the frozen juice to make an orange jam.

The very wintery weather wave been having recently inspired me to make a (slightly out of season!) christmassy jam, with mulling spices and warming ginger. It tastes wonderful just on toast but I will be posting a cake to use some jam up later this week!

Variations: You could use apple juice and fruit instead of orange for a mulled Apple jam.

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Ingredients: Makes Three 250g Jars

  • 300ml Seville Orange Juice
  • Zest from 3 Seville Oranges
  • 5 Medium/Large Clementines or Tangerines, Peeled and Chopped
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Pieces of Stem Ginger, Finely Chopped
  • 50ml Stem Ginger Syrup
  • 400g Jam Sugar
  • A Splash of Spiced Rum
  • 1tsp Vanilla Essence

Put the orange juice zest and chopped fruit into a pan with all the spices and bring to the boil on a high heat.

Cool a small plate in the fridge.

Add the spiced rum and then the stem ginger and syrup.

Stir in the jam sugar and turn the heat down.

Simmer the mixture until it has reduced in volume by about 1/3. This should take 30 minutes to an hour.

Once the mixture has thickened and reduced, check that the jam has set by spooning a small amount onto the cooled plate. If the mixture does not drip when tipped up, the jam is ready. If not you may need to add more Jam sugar or reduce the volume of the mixture further.

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the jam into three sterilised 250g jars and seal tightly. Leave to cool and then sore in the cupboard, or in the fridge once open.