Running from January all the way through to the end of April the Yorkshire forced rhubarb season is one of the best things about food in the first few months of the year. More delicate and slightly sweeter than the main crop, forced rhubarb is the perfect candidate for my rhubarb and ginger jam recipe.
As with any shop that deals directly with food, my local grocer has to deal with a certain amount of food waste. Where they are different to supermarkets, however, is that they’ll try their hardest to not let anything go to waste.
Stock at most grocers doesn’t come with a sell-by-date, which means the food system abides by common sense; if it’s mouldy or rotten, it’s no good. Whereas, at the supermarket if time has moved beyond an arbitrary date, perfectly good produce is made redundant.
Take the Yorkshire forced rhubarb used in this recipe for rhubarb and ginger jam as a case in point; it was a little soft, arguably past its best, but perfectly good for preserving. My grocer, realising the rhubarb was a little too “bendy” had cut it up into a 500g tub and slapped a £1 sign on it. An absolute steal – please enjoy it as much as I did.
To see what I did with this batch of jam, check out my recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Jam Cake; it’s a good one.
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam
Makes 3 Jars
500g rhubarb, 2cm chunks
500g jam sugar
zest & juice of 1 lemon
thumb sized piece of root ginger
50g stem ginger, finely cubed
Tip the rhubarb pieces into a large bowl, along with the sugar, lemon juice, zest and cubed stem ginger.
Peel the root ginger and grate it over the rhubarb before mixing thoroughly and leaving to sit for 2 hours, turning with a spoon every 30 minutes.
Once most of the sugar has dissolved, tip the contents of the mixing bowl into a large sauce pan and bring to a brisk boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until the rhubarb has broken down. Pop a couple of small plates in the freezer.
After 40 minutes take a small amount of the jam and place it on one of the chilled plates. Once a minute has passed push the cool jam with your finger. If the surface of the jam wrinkles it’s ready. If not, give it a few minutes more and try again.
When ready, transfer the jam into three sterilised jars, seal and leave to cool. Once open, store the jam in the fridge, where it’ll last for many months.
Cost: If you’re lucky enough to chance upon some Yorkshire forced rhubarb that has been reduced in price, clutch it with both hands and never let go. If it hasn’t been reduced, buy it anyway.
Even without assuming you have stumbled across some cut-price rhubarb, these three jars of unbelievably delicious jam will set you back around £2.80. That’s roughly the amount one jar of a similar preserve would cost elsewhere, if not cheaper.
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