Making Rhubarb Jam, Mrs Beeton’s way

Our rhubarb plants are strong and healthy and we have been picking rhubarb since April this year.  The stems are still plentiful and the beauty of having several plants is that you only pick a couple of stems from each plant, that leaves the plant strong to grow more stems.Plentiful Rhubarb 2011

So I decided as we had so much rhubarb, and I was running out of freezer space, to make some into jam.  But I’ve never done it before with rhubarb, so I asked my neighbour if she’d ever made rhubarb jam as I wanted to get the proportions to sugar right, which depends on whether the fruit is high or low in pectin.

Anyway, Val searches through her books and comes out with Mrs Beetons Cookery Book, 1923 edition.

Mrs Beeton's cookery book 1923 edition

I just love the bit on rhubarb jam, where it says “place the pan by the side of the fire, and let the contents come slowly to boiling point”.  I suppose this was in the days before cookers.

Text from Mrs Beetons cookery book 1923

Anyway, I made my jam using equal amounts of fruit to jam sugar, the same way I had previously made the gooseberry jam.  I made one batch adding the ginger powder – the taste is quite subtle – and one batch without.  Both were delicious and set firm, so a success I think.  I hope our guests at the B&B will enjoy this with their breakfasts.

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