Spicing up a Sunday morning

When we first moved into our new home almost 6 years ago we fell in love with the huge bay window in our room and the views over roofs and chimneys out to the sea. At night we watch the stars and moon light a path across the sky. And in the morning we can feel the first light creep into our senses well before the sun touches the horizon. By choosing not to have full curtains it gives us a sense of being more aware of the seasons, more aware of the changing lengths of day and night, and just how tiny we are under the myriad of stars. I love to fall asleep with a view of the full moon.

One of the side effects of this is that my body clock knows when it is dawn, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a work day or a weekend, ping! the eyes are open and I’m wide awake and eager to get up and do stuff. And so it is I often find myself pottering around in the kitchen or garden on a Sunday morning before the birds are properly awake, and while the rest of my family slumbers.

Today was no different, but today I had a purpose. A gift of some rhubarb and some stem ginger from my-friend-T and I had a notion for making some jam. It had been months and months since the September push on preserves, pickles and jams and I was keen for some messing around in the kitchen.

First I layered a kilo of chopped rhubarb with a kilo of preserving sugar and left it overnight.

This morning I popped the mixture into a heavy bottomed cookpot with a chunk of bruised ginger and gently simmered until the rhubarb began to soften. I love the bright red and green of the rhubarb all shiny now with its syrup coating.

Taking out the fresh ginger I added half a jar of the stem ginger, finely chopped, and cooked the mixture until the rhubarb separated into strings and the setting point was reached.

If I am making jams for me, family or to gift I usually recycle glass jars I’ve been given, but I usually use new (read expensive) jars when i intend to sell my produce. I wash my jars in warm soapy water, rinse clean and the put into a cold oven. Next stage is to heat the jars to 100 degrees, to sterilise them, but also makes sure that the hot jam doesn’t crack the glass.

And there was still tIme to sit on the bench in my garden, to listen to the birdsong of the goldfinches and a far away woodpecker, and await the padding of feet to announce that it must be time for breakfast of hot buttered toast and lashings of rhubarb & ginger jam.


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