I only found out only recently it belongs to the Brassica family and although not a cauliflower, it does belong in the leaf vegetable section of plants! Alongside asparagus, seakale, and even bamboo shoots.
It’s believed to be derived from a wild Siberian species and it is documented that it may even be a hybrid origin. (So my dad tells me) Although a vegetable it is used like a fruit. It’s almost always cooked with sugar especially used in pies, crumbles and even made into wine. But best of all it makes great tasting jam.
It’s February and it feels the like the winter is still set on making it hard and difficult for us warm up! But the rhubarb has other ideas! Fresh from the garden with their bright pink stems it has brought a breath of early spring into the kitchen. Oranges are fresh in from Spain and they cast a warm glow of meditation sunshine across the fruit bowl. As the days are starting to linger I have time to think about cooking these tactile fruits and I wonder how to bring them together in marriage that will last (well at least 12 mouthfuls!) Bingo a jam is born!
- 2kg of Rhubarb (chopped into 1inch chunks)
- Take two medium oranges, zest peel and chop add the zest and fruit (not the pith) to the Rhubarb.
- Layer the fruit in a bowl with 2 kg of sugar cover with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight.
- The following day your see the sugar has started to dissolve and the rhubarb is bathing in pink sugar syrup, it smells like heaven and is starting to make me think of all the wonder things it will go with, from tarts to toast! I can hardly wait.
- I place the fruit into a jam pan and warm it slowly through until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and check every so often for setting point (pop a small amount onto a saucer and check for wrinkling) It’s not a hard set so don’t be tempted to overcook it.
- Pour into sterilised clean jars and seal with a new lid. Keeps up to 12 months.