A ruby red jam made by slow roasting rhubarb and strawberries with a dash of balsamic and vanilla in a heavy cast iron pan on the cooktop is ready in just under an hour and is delightfully tart and sweet. Makes an ideal Christmas present.
I am a jam fiend. My mum made sure of that. During my primary school years, a butter and jam sandwich on pillowy soft bread was my jam. Everyday. As part of my elaborate lunchbox. I would leave that for the very end of my school meal. Best things for last, right? Whenever I was sick, a jam and butter sandwich washed down with a glass of cold milk cheered me up. I am just realising that it was essentially to me what a cookie is to other kids. With only a handful of fruits available in the jamming department, my favourite jam was strawberry. Later when I left India and went overseas, it was replaced by raspberry and then sour cherry. A few years after sampling a jam a many, I chanced upon a Donna Hay recipe for rhubarb jam. All other jams were history after that. The vibrant, ruby red rhubarb jam is my king of jams and I invariably make a batch every 2-3 months. Not only is it great in jam and butter sandwiches, it is amazing swirled through butter cake or heaped on healthy chia pudding.
Lately I have been making jam in my heavy cast iron Chasseur French oven. They are truly the best for making small batch jams. Having made jams in different pans over the years, I have realised that the stocky nature of the French enamelled cast iron pans retains and seals heat without burning the contents. And jam making is extremely fast in these babies. A generous spoonful of vanilla bean powder takes this recipe to the heavens. A bit pricey but definitely worth it, I use the Loving Earth brand. Rapadura sugar adds a nice caramel tone to the jam and keeps it refined sugar free. Make this your Sunday project, after all it only takes less than an hour. And keep your eyes peeled for another delicious recipe I shall share tomorrow that uses this delightful jam. Don’t forget to tag me with #cookrepublic if you share the recipe on social media, especially Instagram. All the gorgeous wooden spoons you see in the post are hand carved by Polders Old World Market in US.
A ruby red jam made by slow roasting rhubarb and strawberries with a dash of balsamic and vanilla in a heavy cast iron pan on the cooktop is ready in just under an hour and is delightfully tart and sweet. The low sugar content and use of unrefined sugar makes this jam more wholesome and lets the real taste of the fruit shine through. Packed in jars wrapped with some lovely twine and holly, this jam would make the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family.
- 350g chopped rhubarb (1 bunch)
- 200g strawberries, leaves trimmed and diced fine
- 2 tablespoons caramelised balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder/paste/extract
- 3/4cup rapadura sugar
- Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan on low-medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20-30 minutes until sticky and jammy. Stir every now and then to ensure that jam doesn’t stick. Cool completely.
- Fill in sterilized jars with lids and store in the fridge for up to a month.
I have used caramelised balsamic vinegar. It is available from Thomas Dux and select gourmet delis and online grocers. It is syrupy and rich. You can alternatively use a good quality balsamic vinegar or a combination of 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon maple syrup works well too.
Jars can be sterilised quickly in the oven instead of the traditional stovetop boiling hot water method. Preheat oven to 120C. Wash jars and non-plastic lids with soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Place in preheated oven on a wire rack for 20 minutes. remove carefully using tea towels/kitchen gloves. Fill immediately with jam/preserve.