With strawberry season in full flow and the garden rhubarb growing on over-drive, it seems the timing is perfect for finding ways to preserve the summer flavours and to make jam…. Specifically : Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam.
Inspired by Camilla over at Fab Food For All (who is clearly an expert in all things ‘jam’) and her recipe for Simple Rhubarb & Gin Jam, I seized the pan by the handle and chopped, boiled and stirred my rhubarb and strawberries into jammy oblivion, adding a little hit of Cointreau orange liqueur and a drop of orange extract into the mix.
I have never really considered adding liqueur to jam before, but I have to say, the Cointreau (now devoid of all alcoholic content as a result of the heating process), combined with a little extra pure orange extract, added an extra dimension and gave it a slight wave of ‘tangy marmalade meets jam’ on the palate. Divine!
I have previously made Strawberry, Rhubarb and Pomegranate Jam, which was gorgeous, but the weighting for that recipe was very much towards strawberry as the dominant ingredient. For this jam, the star flavour is absolutely the rhubarb… Its tartness offsetting the sweetness of the sugar, but mingling perfectly alongside the distinct fruity sweetness of our deliciously British summer-red strawberries. I just love the rich, almost rust colour that it gives the jam as well.
In the past, I have always used a sugar thermometer for accuracy of temperature (I particularly love my Thermapen). Never being one to become skill-complacent however, for this jam I tried the ‘wrinkle’ technique, which involves chilling a couple of saucers, before dropping a little ‘think it’s ready’ jam onto the surface to set for a minute and then poking the side of the jam drop to see if it ‘wrinkles’. It makes all sorts of sense… After all, jam has been around for far longer than thermometers!
As you can see, it worked a treat and the resulting jam has the most perfect texture… Thick and set, but still spreadable and almost, but not quite fluid, with deliciously chewy fruity bits running through it.
This Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam is so delicious in fact, that I am sharing with the following linkies :
Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam (makes approx 4 standard-sized jars)
- Place your washed, trimmed and cut fruit into a large bowl with the sugar, lemon juice, Cointreau and orange extract. Stir thoroughly and leave for two to three hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to make your jam, sterilize your jars : Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, rinse with very hot water and then place on baking trays into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 140 C/275 F/Gas 1 and bring the oven to temperature. Once at temperature, leave the jars in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, before turning off. Leave the jars in the oven as it cools until you are ready to fill them. Wash the lids in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and then sterilize using boiling water, before leaving to drain.
- Ahead of time, place 2 saucers in the freezer to chill (ready to test when the jam is done).
- Tip the fruit mixture into a very large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently heat, stirring continually, until the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Now bring the mixture to the boil, stirring intermittently as the fruit softens, crushing against the sides to release some of the juice.
- Once boiling, turn up the heat to bring to a rolling boil and allow to boil for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
- If using a jam thermometer, you are wanting the mixture to reach jam-set point (105 C/220 F). If not using a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat after about 8 minutes boiling and place a few drops of the jam on one of the cold saucers from the freezer. Place in the fridge for one minute. Now push the sides of the jam with your finger and if it has formed a gel and wrinkles, the jam is ready.
- If the jam is still liquid, place back on the heat and boil for a further 2 minutes, before re-testing. Continue this process until the jam is ready, each time using a cold saucer.
- When the jam is ready, pour into the sterilized jars, and seal with the lids immediately, before allowing to cool.