HOW HOT + HOW LONG

My Foolproof Rhubarb & Vanilla Jam

Easy to make and delicious…what more do you want?

Katharine Eyre
Sybarite
Published in
2 min readJun 6, 2023

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Two jars of rhubarb & vanilla jam
Rhubarb & vanilla jam (Katharine Eyre © 2023)

I have been making jam now for about 10 years. I’ve tried strawberry and ginger, apricot, raspberry and an autumnal plum’n’rum. Once, in a fit of nostalgia for my dear late grandpa, I even did a citrus marmalade. All crowned with more or less success.

Jam-making can be a nerve-wracking undertaking at the best of times. But one recipe works perfectly for me year after year: rhubarb and vanilla. The zing of the spring fruit and the decadence of vanilla — irresistible! This one is so darned easy to make, I’m even going to go so far as to say it’s foolproof.

(Makes 4-5 medium-sized jars of jam)

Ingredients:

  • 1kg of rhubarb, washed and sliced into 3cm chunks
  • 1kg jam sugar (or 1kg white sugar with enough pectin for this weight of sugar & fruit added)*
  • The scrapings of 2 vanilla pods or 2 tbsp Vanilla Campaign vanilla essence**
  • Juice of 1 lemon

*I like to use this jam sugar which is available from supermarkets in Austria: a 1kg packet is suitable for 1kg of fruit. If I’m using plain white sugar, then I add the entire contents of a 34g packet of Haas pectin to 1 kg of sugar to achieve the same effect.

**The Vanilla Campaign is a German startup based in Bergrheinfeld that sells quality vanilla and cocoa products. Unfortunately, the website is all in German, but they do ship worldwide.

Method:

  • Place two small plates in the freezer.
  • Put the chopped rhubarb in a large saucepan along with the sugar, pectin, and the vanilla pods/essence.
  • Heat the mix until all the sugar has dissolved, then add the lemon juice.
  • Turn up the heat and boil briskly for 10 minutes, skimming the foam/scum off the top.
  • After 10 minutes, the fruit should already be soft. If the fruit separates easily out into its fibres when you press on it gently with the wooden spoon, you’ve hit the sweet spot (no pun intended).
  • Test for setting point by putting a teaspoon of the hot jam mixture on one of the plates from the freezer and putting the plate into the fridge for 2 minutes.
  • If the jam spot wrinkles or shows resistance when you press it lightly with your finger, the jam is ready. If not, keep performing the test at two-minute intervals until setting point is reached.
  • When the jam is ready, pour it into sterilised jars.

Kept in a cool, dark place, the jam will keep for around 6 months. Don’t worry if the jam darkens in colour — there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just aging elegantly!

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Katharine Eyre
Sybarite

Hi, I'm Katharine and I love words. Read some more of my words on my blog, And So...She Wrote, at https://katharinewrites.com