There are two camps in jam making. One camp insists that the fruit should be simmered with the acid (usually lemon juice) until the liquid is reduced and the fruit is soft, before adding the sugar. This softens the fruit and makes a fairly smooth jam.
The other camp likes to macerate the fruit in sugar to extract the juices for a more flavoursome jam where the fruit is not as tender and thus the jam is more chunky style.
I don’t mind either style, and it depends on the fruit and my mood of the day. The first way is definitely quicker – no overnight or day-long soaking – but I also quite love a chunky jam.
For this recipe we are using the maceration method. It is Rhubarb season and thus we are putting it to good use. I have written before about my previous aversion to rhubarb, but recently fell in love with it after making a simple, sweet dessert.
In this jam I used some lavender sugar – about half and half with plain sugar. You can add your own flavourings, should you care to. I do love a Strawberry and Black Pepper Jam.
Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam
for each 500g strawberries, use:
1 fleshy stalk of rhubarb
500g white sugar
peel and juice of 0.5 lemon
Select firm, healthy strawberries. Cut the large ones, but the others can be left whole if desired.
Remove the leaves from the rhubarb and chop finely. Add to the strawberries.
Layer the strawberry-rhubarb mixture in a bowl with the sugar and grated lemon peel, and leave to macerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
The next day, place the strawberry mixture into a pan and add the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 – 35 mins, stirring often. Test for setting point (I place a drop of jam onto a saucer and if it does not run easily, it is ready).
Immediately pour the jam into jars and apply lids. Turn the jars upside down for at least 15 mins (to distribute the fruit throughout the jam and avoid it sinking to the bottom of the jar) and then turn them right way up and allow to cool.
I store all jam in the fridge for longer shelf life.
recipe notes and alternatives
A quick note on setting point – it will depend on many factors including your fruit, your lemons, the heat levels, etc. I have had this jam set in around 20 mins, but others suggest even shorter setting times. So test the jam often while cooking.
When you turn the jam jars upside down, do a quick check to ensure there is no leakage. If there is, turn the jar right way up, tighten the lid a little more, then turn upside down again.