Easy recipe for rhubarb jam with a subtle touch of rose - and dried hibiscus flowers (or tea) for a deeper red colour. The combination also works well mixed with strawberries.
How to Turn Green Rhubarb Pink
A few years ago, I found a solution to our not-so-pretty green rhubarb found at our local French market. I didn't want to add strawberries to give it a pink look; instead I wanted JUST the rhubarb. So I experimented with the addition of hibiscus and red fruit tea to this Rhubarb compote. Bingo! It worked.
Not only did it look much prettier in pink, but it also tasted fabulous. As I normally add a touch of rose syrup to my rhubarb jam, the addition of hibiscus just gives it that extra wow factor.
How Much Sugar for Rhubarb Jam?
Normally I use the least amount of sugar in jam making, and in order for it to be called jam, the amount of sugar (including the sugar from the fruits) has to be 650g per kilo of fruit.
In the case of naturally tart rhubarb, I feel that 600g (1.25 lb) is minimum to compensate for its tartness. For more on sugar ratio to jam, see my recipe post for Corsican Fig Jam - as it all depends on the type of fruit used. Some have more sugar, some more pectin, so it's a matter of judging between the two.
Pectin or No Pectin for Rhubarb Jam?
I normally use a pectin sugar since, like strawberries, it needs that bit of pectin in order for it to set more easily. Just check the ingredients on the special preserving jam sugar, as some have some strange ingredients that even include oils.
If you don't have pectin sugar, you can still make it with normal granulated sugar but bubble it up slightly longer for it to thicken. Adding a touch of lemon juice helps thicken the jam too.
How to Serve Rhubarb Jam
Rhubarb Jam with Rose and Hibiscus
- 1 kg (2lb 3oz) Rhubarb stalks
- 600 g (1¼lb) sugar with pectin (or granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers (carcadé or a hibiscus teabag)
- 2 tablespoon rose syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Sterilise 3-4 jam jars to ensure they are spotlessly clean. I normally just clean them in the dishwasher but if you prefer, leave them to soak in boiling water for a few minutes and set aside to dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Wash, trim off the end stems (ensure there are no trace of the rhubarb leaves as these are toxic) and cut the rhubarb into slices.
- Measure the rhubarb in a large bowl and add the sugar. Cover the bowl and leave the rhubarb to macerate in the sugar overnight or for a couple of hours, until the sugar turns liquid.
- Sieve out the liquid into a thick-bottomed pan. Reserve a small amount of liquid into a bowl and add the hibiscus flowers or teabag to infuse. Place this in the microwave or in a small saucepan to heat gently until the hibiscus has infused, leaving the liquid a pretty dark pink. Return the pink liquid to the big pan.
- Throw in the rhubarb and heat on high for 20-25 minutes or until thick. Add the rose syrup and lemon juice after 10 minutes.
- When thick enough, spoon the boiling jam into the sterilised jars as much as possible to the top, and tightly close the lids to seal.