Tuesday, 12 January 2010

rhubarb, rhubarb... and carrots

Lots more friendly womanly chat today as we set about making our second batch of jam for the Imperial War Museum. Today Rhubarb and Ginger Jam and Carrot Jam were on the menu, again two different approaches to preserving.

Carrot Jam
Annie set off chopping around two and a half pounds of carrots which we had to cook and puree. This turned out to be more time consuming than we thought. The peeling and chopping wasn't so bad, but the carrots - which required a small (unspecified) amount of water took ages to cook and then had to be mashed and sieved to a puree. This work just about produced the required pint of puree which, when mixed with a pound of sugar, lemon rind, and 2 and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, went into the jam pan.

With such a small amount, we kept a careful watch to make sure that it didn't burn. It was quite difficult to tell whether setting point was reached as it was not syruppy at all so we had to use some judgement about when it was jammy enough. We added some almonds and a tablespoon of brandy before bottling - the jam won't keep without the alcohol. Our reward was a lovely deep orange jam, with an apply taste, sharpened by the lemon rind.

Ingredients: 1 pint of carrot puree, 1 lb of sugar, 1 lemon, half and ounce of sweet almonds ( we used flaked), a tablepoon of brandy. Recipe from Bombers and Mash by Raynes Minns.

Rhubarb and Ginger
The rhubarb and ginger jam was a much more straightforward affair. Two pounds of chopped rhubarb were covered in the same amount of sugar and left to steep for an hour (should have been longer!).

While we waited we set to chopping and squeezing and grating the added ingredients.

We put the rhubarb and sugar mixture into the jam pan the added lemon juice and three well heaped tablespoons of chopped preserved ginger; heated this gently until the sugar dissolved; and then boiled briskly until setting point was reached. We used Annie's aged sugar thermometer and the cold plate test just to make sure we didn't overcook the jam this time. Result - another richly amber-coloured jam with a lovely sharp taste, warmed through with the ginger.

Ingredients: 2lb rhubarb, 2lb sugar, 2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of preserved ginger chopped. Recipe from Basic Basics, Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten.

Our display jams have been stored in original style kilner jars and out excess in more readily available plain jars with waxed inserts and cellophane lids. Annie showed us how to dampen the cellophane tops before putting them on the open jars to get a tight seal. Aha!

Next up - tomato chutney, pickled beetroot and pickled onions. There'll be tears before bedtime.


  1. Wonderful spicy smells eminating from Colleen's kitchen on Tuesday. The resulting jams providing a vibrant and warm colour range fit for an autumnal painting. The sieving of the carrot certainly activated the muscles of my right arm! and 2nd world war weekly rations of sugar for at least 4 people disappeared into two pots of jam - I wonder what they put in their tea instead.... As usual a friendly supportive atmosphere - glad to belong to the group

  2. Really enjoying learning how to make jam. It is not as hard as I had feared. It is quite nice to make it with others too, quite social. I think I'll try to keep on jamming after this project for the IWM is over.