Yesterday the boys and I tootled down to the park for our daily constitutional. There is a fellow who we see occassionally who has a welsh sheep dog. These folk that have sheep dogs as pets - I don't know, she really needs a flock of sheep. Anyway, this fellow had a load of rhubarb from his allotment, and was carrying it about till he bumped into somebody who wanted it - yes it is a bit odd, but not nearly as strange as the man with the golden retriever. Although, in fairness, both the characters have beautiful dogs.
Anyway, the bloke with the welsh sheep dog gave me his rhubarb. The bugger had slipped in a courgette damn him. At this time of year everybody has courgettes coming out of their ears. The other day my allotment neighbour gave me a bag of tomatoes, and slipped a courgette in there too. M has started putting courgette in cake so we don't notice we're still eating it.
So I had this bag of rhubarb, and one courgette. I really like the rhubarb jam from my local baker, and thought I'd have a go at making my own. I'm glad the Mother-out-law has FaceTime now. She was very helpful, and it's so handy to be able to call her up this way. I'd ask my Mum these things except for the time zone thing, and the Mother-out-law is an expert in jam. As a Mother-out-law she's quality.
The recipe didn't have a lot of instruction. I started the whole affair in the slow oven, partly to break down the rhubarb, and partly to give the jars time to get clean in the dish washer. Then I put the jars in the oven to sterilise, and brought the pot to a rolling boil.
My word, making jam is stressful. Surprisingly I didn't use any expletives. And eventually I did the wrinkle test and found that the jam was infact wrinkling. I'd been doing the wrinkle test every few seconds, so that couldn't really go wrong. The jars came out of the oven, and I started pouring the liquid.
The first bit of jam started to bubble in the jar. A bit weird, but I added a bit more. The bubbles were quite violent now, so I stopped pouring. Then the jar cracked, and the side fell off. Just like that. I stoud there with my mouth in a O wondering what to do.
At this point all of the jars had cracked. Fortunately they had been standing on a roasting tray, so everything was nicely contained. I put the rest of the jam in a bowl to cool. Then in true twenty-first century style I put a picture on Instagram and Facebook, and FaceTimed the Mother-out-law to show her the mess. I think I might get her to supervise my next jam making experience.
I'd like to say that nobody was hurt, but I did manage to drip a bit of hot jam on my hand well before the whole jar incident.
The jam itself is quite nice. I would like to think I'd make it again once the trauma of having the jar fall to pieces has subsided. I would quite like a thermometer too. That would take the guess work out of the process, and eleminate the wrinkle test.
I made tomato sauce earlier in the week without incident.