One of our first houseguests after lockdown eased was our friend Sophie, who arrived with a carrier bag bursting full of rhubarb. When we first moved down to Devon, the veg patch in the house we rented grew only rhubarb and parsley - in huge quantities. I remember trying to grow other things but those two took over every time, so eventually we just gave up and embraced both - we became dab hands at rhubarb and custard soufflés, but then that was before we had two kids and a business, so with this glut of rhubarb we made jam instead. Far more practical.
Our jam-making started, as always, at a reasonable hour, but as always, it finished around midnight. We had just over 2kilos of rhubarb (after the ends were chopped off by our son Milo using his Star Wars light-sabre-handled knife) which made a dozen jars. And we could only get limes in the local coop, so it’s a Rhubarb and Lime jam, which is actually great. Orange would’ve been really ideal, but lime does add a refreshing tang to it.
The recipe is a vague one - but then I always think you can't go too far wrong with jam. Worst case scenario you've ended up with a sort of compote to spoon over your yoghurt. First up, chop the rhubarb and discard any discoloured bits. Zest and juice the citrus you're using and put them into a bowl, with just enough sugar to cover the lot. To be honest, we used a little too much sugar. I’d tone it down a little for next time. And then stir and heat! Our temperamental Aga looses heat rapidly as soon as you’re using it - not ideal for jamming, we’ve found. Or really anything that requires a constant, high heat. But if you try to get it to just over boiling (105 degrees, to be precise), and test it by popping some plates in the freezer and dolloping a little spoonful of jam onto them - you want it to crinkle. Ours didn’t ever crinkle, to be honest. It’s a very runny jam (thanks Aga).
But it’s delicious. All jarred up (sterilise the jars first, and then pour when the jam's still hot). And highly recommended if you find yourself with a bag of rhubarb you're not sure what to do with. Now, just need to wrap and pack a jar or two off to Sophie…