I waded down into the garden the other day. The jungle the part that I have yet to tame and for which I have plans for a Potager. Have not got there yet but that is another story. On the safari, I unexpectedly found a substantial lot of rhubarb. Ever mindful of putting up tastes and flavours for winter days and for use throughout the year I started browsing my books for inspiration. Not a particular recipe just browsing to see if anything inspired me.
I came across my Ghillie James book of Jam, Jelly and Relish (a book which I love and which is proving very useful as there are a lot of excellent recipes within it) ISBN Number:978-1-85626-909-4. My fingers started flicking the pages. I came across a couple of recipes that seemed to fit the bill nicely.
One of my favourite jams is Rhubarb and Strawberry jam. I shall make some of this in due course but I wanted something different for the pantry shelf.
I then came across her Poached Rhubarb with Orange and Ginger Wine recipe. At first look I thought that this was purely for preparing and putting into the freezer; however it would appear that this is a recipe that you can either freeze or indeed bottle/oven process. So if you do not feel up to the hard work of bottle processing then freeze it. It is down to individual needs like how much time you have to prepare something. Rhubarb freezes well in any event.
This uses a traditional method of processing fruit in the oven which is good for strawberries as well.
More and more people are going back to the process of bottling or canning fruits to save freezer space preferring to put more expensive items like meat in the freezer especially since fuel prices increased.
Bottling allows you to still provide a pudding during the winter months as well as the main course from the freezer.
I have not tried this recipe before but it does look promising. What appealed to me is that you can make a larger batch of this in one go. I will probably make at least a couple of batches as rhubarb is a favourite of OH.
Bottling rhubarb in syrup is very good as well as you can drain the syrup off and just use the rhubarb in a pie or alternative pudding and the syrup diluted with water for a drink. Rhubarb does tend to lose its colour though in the processing and also with being stored on a shelf. Therefore it is important to keep it out of the light where possible after processing. I understand that the traditional way of trying to lessen this was that after the bottles were processed and cooled the bottles/jars were wiped down and allowed to dry and then brown paper covers used to be placed over the preserving jars.
The recipe is as follows and makes about 1.5 litres of preserve.
300g-350g caster sugar
juice of three smallish oranges
125ml ginger wine
1kg rhubarb trimmed and cut into 5cm chunks
Use larger Kilner jars for this recipe for ease of packing chunks of rhubarb into the jar or wide mouthed Ball Mason jars, but more importantly because they can stand the heat required for the heat treatment.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/50 degrees C/300 degrees F.
Put the sugar and 6000ml of water into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. If using the forced rhubarb which is less tart than garden pulled rhubarb use less sugar i.e. 300g. Increase the heat and boil for about one minute.
Put the jars (without the lids/tops) in the oven to sterilise heat process them and heat for at least five minutes. I usually leave for at least 10 minutes but that is me.
Add the orange juice to the syrup in the pan and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or so then add the ginger wine and turn off the heat.
Take the jars out of the oven one by one and Pack the rhubarb tightly into the jars and then pour over the hot syrup until it reaches the top.
Rest the tops/lids on the top of the jars without sealing.
Lay a dish cloth or tea towel in the base of a roasting tin. Move the filled jars into this pan on top of the tea towel/cloth spacing the jars out in the pan evenly then add boiling water to the pan. Put into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape. Remove the jars from the oven and seal immediately. Allow to cool.
Now you have a staple for the Pantry shelf for the winter months. However thoughtful as usual Ghillie has also provided a recipe for a pudding where you can use this off the shelf preserve. That will follow in part two of this post.
Catch you later.
Catch you later.