She stands out red and well-girthed on the far side of town, her long cheeks rouged and ever so slightly green. All the bugs and slugs under her; a profusion of pests whose days are spent in the seclusion and safety of her wide hips and hairy green leaves – wide, elephantine amongst this small English garden.
The rhubarb plant is a sturdy gal and one I can neither kill; nor abate her growing fury, despite my weekly random leaf plucking, stalk slashing and general abuse of this well-established, stubborn English maid.
In my natural joy of owning a healthy plant I decide I must, obviously, do something with the bounty. A ferret on google reveals this simple recipe, much praised and easily produced: Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam.
Equal your weight of barb to sugar – say 1kg of each. Throw it in the jam pan and let the sugar melt, when it has melted add a whole vanilla pod – whip it about a bit and then leave the jam to boil and bubble and furiously become jam – a matter of ten minutes of so.
I like the saucer test best, to check for jam jammage conclusion, stick a saucer in the freezer – after ten minutes of jamming – drop a few splots onto said frozen saucer and push the jam with your finger tip – if it forms wrinkles its ready to go – if not keep boiling for another few minutes and then try the saucer test again.
Decant – enjoy.
Sweet, tart – this stuff is truly gorgeous on hot buttered toast, as a compote with fresh sliced English strawberries, or on just out the oven warm , steamy scones…