Toasted bread warm from the oven. A stalk of rhubarb in the fridge. Vanilla, ginger, gelling sugar and lemon juice. Enough jam for a slice of toast.
The first time I ever tasted rhubarb was in Paris…I think anyway. I didn’t know what it was at the time. It would take years before I would stitch together random puzzles of taste memory until the pieces seemed to fit. The color of pastel pink freshly roasted rhubarb jam floats through the recesses of my mind’s eye. Too bad the memory of which cafe on what vintage street has long since eluded me!
Small batch preserving has become an artisanal approach to saving the seasons. Slow roasting fruit until reduced, caramelized and perfectly sweetened adds a handmade quality to enhancing natural flavors growing in the orchard. This is by far the smallest batch of preserves I’ve ever made. A technique first attempted on a tiny electric cooking hob in various university kitchens across Europe…makes it seem so glamorous, right?
Truth be told it was the lazy result of limited fridge space and expensive produce just begging to be used. The effects are 100% edible – one stalk of rhubarb yielding roughly 2-3 tablespoons of jam, slow cooked to a ballerina pink color and brimming with the freshness of spring. Give it a try!
- 1 stalk rhubarb, cleaned, ends trimmed, cut into 2" matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon Jam or Gelling Sugar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla paste
- Clean and prep the rhubarb cutting into 2" matchsticks. Add the jam sugar, stirring to coat, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow the juices to develop.
- The next morning, transfer the rhubarb, sugar, and juices to a small saucepan. Stir in the honey, lemon zest, ginger and vanillas. Bring the jam to a simmer and continue cooking until thickened and jammy. Yum! Drizzle over pancakes or refrigerate for at least an hour for handmade preserves.