I gave my neighbour aka The Jam Queen 2kg of rhubarb yesterday and she made rhubarb and ginger jam. Delicious. Today to compare I made rhubarb and vanilla jam. Both have the refreshing sharpness of rhubarb and the complexity of the spice but are different. The vanilla makes for a smooth taste, the ginger is even more exotic (I'll make that in a few days and post the recipe here). This is such a good way of using rhubarb so that you can revisit the taste in the depth of winter.
2 vanilla pods halved.
1 sachet of pectin
Soak the rhubarb in the sugar and vanilla pod stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is infused with vanilla.
Put the mixture of rhubarb, sugar and halved vanilla pods into a preserving pan or a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the mixture is warm and very liquid, then squeeze in the lemon juice and increase the heat.
Boil for about 10 mins until the fruit is soft. If it develops a scum add a knob of butter to disperse.
Test for setting point either by using a jam thermometer (it should reach 105C) or by spooning a little onto a pre-chilled plate from the feezer. After 1-2 mins, push your finger through the jam - if the surface wrinkles it is ready, if not, keep cooking for 2-min intervals, testing in between.
Once the jam is ready, let it cool for about 15 mins before ladling into warm sterilised jars and sealing. Will keep for six months in a cool, dark place.