One of the interesting things about reading a lot of foodie/preservation blogs from the northern hemisphere is being out-of-step with their seasons. Many bloggers seem to be excited by rhubarb at the moment, and there has been an explosion of recipes as it is one of the first fruit to emerge at the start of spring.
Well, mine was growing all spring, summer and autumn, and this morning I finished what was probably my second batch of rhubarb cooking in 12 months. It doesn’t really go dormant in my garden. The original plants, (thanks for the correction Dad!) came from Marie who worked in the same building as Dad and had this variety in her family for generations.
I think the story goes, came from Marion’s mother, Marion lived next door to my parents for a while. It is a lovely thick stemmed red-just-tinged-with-green rhubarb. Because it just sits there, quietly growing and not demanding attention I rarely pick it. The chickens dose themselves on the leaves from time to time (self-medicating for worms perhaps?).
Recently I picked a batch to aid pruning access to the apricot tree growing above it. There must be a good six to eight corms there now, from an original two. I suppose I should mulch it or sprinkle some compost on it to provide encouragement.
Last night I made Pink Jam – Strawberry and Rhubarb combined with a touch of lemon. But it didn’t set. I think I am being impatient with my jam making, and many North American recipes use less sugar than a 1:1 ratio, but ensure a good gel with added pectin.
This morning, I emptied the jars into a saucepan, added another 1.5 cups of water and a packet of jamsetta, boiled briefly and rebottled. Within an hour it was a firm set which I do prefer. The taste is nice – neither rhubarb nor strawberry dominate, the flavour is very PINK! I think I need to stock up on Jamsetta or consider making a batch of pectin stock from green apples before the apple season is out.
Now, it’s morning tea time and I’ve got a pot of baked rhubarb to enjoy