Another wonderful preserve from Beatrice Ojakangas, this time a sweet, simple rose gold jam, one of my favourites. Perfect for brightening up the cold months.
‘You’ll love the aroma of this jam cooking,’ Ojakangas writes. Yes. Sour pink rhubarb, sunny pineapple and deep, rich vanilla come together in an unexpectedly lovely way: it’s truly lovely, so syrupy and fragrant, like lychee or yakult. The first time I made this, I was lucky enough to get several vanilla pods in Thailand which are black and lovely, so rich that the seeds ooze out when cut. A whole pod went into a big jar of this jam as a fine present for my mother.
I don’t expect you to go to the effort of pineapple-wrangling. I most certainly have never bothered: if you can get a tub of fresh, unsweetened, ready prepared chunks in the fruit salad section, you’re good. Either way, choose good, sweet pineapple as it’s the the dominant flavour here. The rhubarb adds its fresh tang to prevent the whole thing from being sickly-sweet while making the body of the jam spreadably soft, a good contrast against the still crisp pineapple.
Forced rhubarb appears in the shops now and will remain pink until April, so you’ve got a good few months to get on this jam. I love it stirred into yoghurt and it is surprisingly good in porridge, and I really want to try it in a sandwich cake or as a doughnut filling.
Other rhubarb recipes on my blog:
- Rhubarb syrup + oven-poached stems, scented with vanilla and orange
- Rhubarb and orange swirly buns (with optional rose-orange glaze)
- Rhubarb & banana jam
More food blogs:
- Smitten Kitchen’s rhubarb tag
- The Vanilla Bean Blog’s buttermilk cake with rhubarb buttercream and cardamom cream
- Seven Spoon’s rhubarb danishes with almond cream
RHUBARB, PINEAPPLE & VANILLA JAM
Makes 500 – 600 ml (2 generous cups – 2 1/2 cups). Adapted from Beatrice Okajangas
Another soft set jam. If you want a firm jellied set, use all or part jam sugar.
If canned, it’ll last a year on the shelf and 3 – 4 weeks opened in the fridge. If simply bottling, keep in the fridge and eat within a couple of weeks.
You can also keep in tupperware and freeze it, leaving headspace in case of expansion. It keeps for rather longer that way and remains pliable enough to spoon out what you need. It doesn’t take too long to soften at room temperature (though if your room is on the cold side, a microwave is helpful).
400g/2 cups white granulated sugar (you can also use half palm/light brown/golden caster sugar, you’ll get a pretty golden jam this way)
1 whole vanilla pod
400g/just under 1lb rhubarb, washed
300g – 400g/10.5 oz – 14 oz or just under 1 lb fresh, fragrant pineapple chunks (I use those ready prepared tubs, they contain only pineapple and no extra sugar)
4 tablespoons (60ml) lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 small-medium lemons or 1/2 a lovely fat one)
Put the sugar(s) into the pot you’ll use to cook the jam (you’ll need at least a 3 litre capacity). Split and scrape the vanilla pod, adding both seeds and pod to the sugar, rubbing well with your fingers to evenly disperse the fragrant seeds.
Cut the rhubarb into 2 cm pieces and slice the pineapple chunks into smaller bite-size chunks (the pineapple won’t break down much and remains slightly crisp). Add all fruit and any juices to the pot. Pour over lemon juice and combine everything. The jam can be boiled immediately or covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours til you’re ready.
When you’re ready to make jam, sterilise your jars and put little saucers in the freezer for the plate test.
Stir the mixture over a low heat til the juices flow and completely dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and boil for 20 – 25 minutes. Don’t bother with skimming any froth that appears, but do give it an occasional stir, particularly towards the end of the cooking time as the mixture reduces and thickens. You might also want to reduce the heat: enough to maintain a lively rather than violent bubbling.
When nearing readiness, the mixture should be thick and have large bubbles all over the surface. To test, turn off the heat, scoop a little blob of jam onto the frozen plate and let it sit for a minute or two: it should stay in a plump mound and wrinkle when you push your finger through.
Immediately pot into hot sterilised jars. Process further if necessary and store. I make super small batches so I just keep them in the fridge, but obviously if you want them shelf-stable, can them.