This must be the easiest jam to make in the whole wide world! And, as with all jam-making, small quantities are best: quickest to prepare and also to bring up to that all-important setting point. And if you find you don’t have the exact kilo of prepared fruit, just weigh out the equivalent amount of sugar.
Fresh from the garden: rhubarb, lemon
Recipe source: Melissa
Makes: 3 or 4 medium jars
- 4 medium jars with good lids
- Oven tray
- Paper towel
- 3 small saucers
- Chopping boards and knives
- Citrus juicer
- Heavy-based wide stockpot
- Wooden spoon with flat edge
- Small serving bowls
- 1kg rhubarb
- 1kg sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 large lemon
What to do:
To sterilise jars:
- Wash your jars in hot, soapy water, rinse and then drain them upside-down.
- Place on an oven tray right-side-up and slide them into the oven. Turn on the oven to 160C. Leave them there until
- Wash the lids, rinse and drain them. Wipe them dry with a piece of paper towel and keep your fingers away from the inside of the lid!
To make the jam:
- Put 3 small saucers in the freezer.
- Wash the rhubarb stalks and trim the edges. Slice each stalk into 3cm pieces and weigh to make sure you have 1kg.
- Slice the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then cut each pod half into two.
- Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice.
- Put the rhubarb into a preserving pan or a heavy-based wide stockpot with the measured sugar, vanilla seeds and pods. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved, then squeeze in the lemon juice and increase the heat.
- Boil for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft, stirring with the flat-ended wooden spoon every minute or so. Test for the setting point by spooning a little onto your chilled plate. After 1-2 mins, push your finger through the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready, if not, keep cooking for 2 minute intervals, testing in between.
- Once the jam is ready, let it cool for about 10 mins before ladling into your warm sterilised jars and sealing with the clean, dry lids.
- Label with the name and date when cool. Will keep for at least 12 months in a cool, dark place.
Notes: What does to sterilise mean? What is the setting point?
Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe
Tags: children, cooking, gifts, gluten-free, home made, kids, preserves, preserving, vegan, vegetarian
Jill writes, ‘Free shortbread from the restrictively narrow timeframe of Christmas, and make it throughout the year. Hallelujah.’ I think by turning these into a festive treat (however short-lasting they may be!) they can be a great present for someone too…
Recipe source: adapted from Jill Dupleix’s recipe for Anytime Shortbread in ‘Simple Food’
Makes: about 30
- Baking trays and paper
- Bowls – 2 medium
- Food processor
- Flour sifter
- Chopping board and knife
- Cling film
- Rolling pins
- Festive biscuit cutters
- Ribbon, chopstick, skewer, cellophane
- 300g unsalted butter, soft
- 150g icing sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 300g plain flour
- 150g rice flour or cornflour
What to do:
- Heat the oven to 150C. Line the baking trays with baking paper.
- Combine the butter, icing sugar and sea salt in a food processor and whiz until smooth.
- Sift in the flour and rice flour, then pulse off and on, scraping down the sides from time to time, until the mixture gathers into a ball. Knead for a minute or two with your hands until smooth, then cut into two, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Tidy & wipe down your workspace.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and pat or lightly roll out the dough until 1cm thick. Cut into shapes with the biscuit cutters. Reshape the scraps and cut more shapes. Place on a baking tray and prick with a fork. If you want to, you can carefully pierce a hole in each shape with a skewer or chopstick, & later thread ribbon through to hang as a decoration.
- Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the tray around and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until touched with colour. Leave to cool on the tray.
- Pack gently into an airtight container, thread with a length of ribbon and tie into a cellophane bag – or simply gobble them up!
Notes: This shortbread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Or spread with homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream for a take on the classic Strawberry Shortcake…