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Rhubarb and Rose Geranium Jam


I was all ready to write about how we skipped spring and went straight into summer this year.   Usually the bleakest of months, October's weather is usually gusty, often raining, suffers from constant blasts of wild winds and is notoriously fickle.  But this year, October has been full of hot and sunny summer days.

Yesterday, as we worked outside in the garden, mowed the lawn for the third time this week, and rested under the shade of the mulberry tree, I thought what happened to spring? This is summer weather already.

Thankfully, today spring is back, a rainy wet chilly start to the day followed by gusty blasts that has me indoors working at my desk.  The wood stove is getting what might be its last daytime hurrah for a while, and its wetback gurgles comfortingly in the background as it heats our hot water.  There are beans in the oven simmering away with tomato, garlic, and smokey spices, and the kettle sits on the side of the stove, ready for a cup of tea at a moments notice.

Spring is my third favourite month, after winter and autumn, so I do feel a little robbed of those balmy spring days.  So far this October has been hotter than any December on record. Scary stuff.

From a local eaters point of view, skipping spring straight into summer means that we're enduring the heat, without all the good things that summer brings, like juicy cherries, sweet nectarines, fragrant tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers from the garden.  There's no standing over the sink eating a ripe juicy peach, and letting its juices dribble down your chin, to take the sting out of a stifling day. These are the delicious things that for me, makes summer bearable.  But now, it's still the hungry patch, and all we've got is rhubarb and meyer lemons and the rose geranium has started to flower.

So here is a spring jam, the first one of the season, a light spring, lemony jam, made fragrant with rose geranium leaves. It's low on sugar and doesn't keep for long.  A bit like spring really.

Spring Rhubarb Jam with Rose Geranium

750g rhubarb stalks
300g sugar
100mls meyer lemon juice
3 sprigs of rose geranium

Wash rhubarb and remove the leaves, the tough pale end of the stalk and any snails.

Cut into the rhubarb into pieces about the size of a cork, if anyone can remember what a cork looks like (about 5cm).

Throw the rhubarb into a non reactive bowl, with the sugar and the lemon juice.  Toss then cover and allow to sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

Pour the rhubarb mixture and the rose geranium sprigs into a preserving pan, scrape all the juice and sugar clinging to the bowl.  Cook over low to medium heat, stirring often until the sugar has dissolved and the juices are running freely.   Increase heat to a medium high and bring the rhubarb to a gentle boil. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring often or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove the rose geranium.

Pour into jars, allow to cool and store in the fridge. Best eaten within two weeks or so.

This fresh spring jam is delicious on toast, with yoghurt and granola for breakfast, on ice-cream, or simply eaten out of the jar with spoon, in lieu of a juicy peach eaten over the sink.


  1. Aaw.. your talk of peaches made me sad! Last year my 1and a half year old daughter delighted in picking peaches straight off the tree, then laying on her tummy in the grass to eat it them. We'll have moved from this place by the time they ripen this year... *sigh*. Spring though is well and truly here in melbourne, lovely days, terrible days, hot days and the terrible again. Such a crazy time of year, but man I love the smells!

    1. Oh what a lovely image! Peaches are really lovely aren't they! x

  2. Dear Michelle, I've just finished reading your delightful 'A table in the orchard', a wonderful present from my dear daughter, Ruth Bruten. I loved the simplicity, almost purity of your writing, recipes and photographs.,such a treasure trove.

  3. It felt as though we had skipped Spring here too - thank goodness it's back this week... Lovely jam recipe, thanks for sharing.

  4. This sounds so yummy! I will most certainly be giving it a try.

  5. You know what? I've never actually eaten rhubarb before! I'm going to have to give it a try one of these days :)