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Red Rhubarb

August preserve: rhubarb and ginger jam

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Rhubarb and ginger make a warming, wintry jam, writes ALECIA WOOD.

“We’ve been experimenting with rhubarb in all sorts of ways since it came into season, and we’re loving the results,” says The Jam Bandits creative director Alex Paduano.

Paduano and culinary director Kate Schlunke create their hand-made, all-natural jams at home in their spare time – by day, he’s an architect and she’s an art teacher. “Everything just snowballed from there,” says Paduano of their first time as vendors at Sydney’s Surry Hills Market, where they now sell their preserves regularly.

They now make a range of flavours, currently including mixed berry and lavender, orange and ginger marmalade, chilli and tomato chutney, and salted caramel sauce. For this duo, keeping their ingredients local and seasonal is key – “We get as much of our ingredients as possible from people we know,” says Paduano. “I get my Seville oranges from a friend’s backyard tree.”

This time of year, it’s all about rhubarb. “Rhubarb and ginger jam is a great winter warmer, bringing together the tartness of seasonal rhubarb with all the health benefits of ginger,” says Paduano, adding that this jam works best on toast or dolloped over porridge.

The Jam Bandits’ Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

  • 1kg rhubarb, washed and chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 850g sugar
  • 50ml of water
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely chopped

Place rhubarb in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the sugar, water, ginger, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Mix all the ingredients well and place over a high heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to a low heat and simmer for approximately one and a half hours or until set, stirring frequently. 

To check if the jam is set, place jam on a cold teaspoon, leave it for a couple of minutes and then gently push it with your finger. If the jam wrinkles, it is set. If not, continue to cook over a low heat until the setting point is achieved.

Once set, ladle the hot jam in to warm, sterilised jars, leaving about 1cm of space at the top of each jar. Secure lids tightly and place the jars in a large pot. Cover with water and boil for 15 minutes.

This recipe makes about three jars of jam, which will keep for up to 12 months stored in a cool, dark cupboard.