elvisbreakfastkatrina

Gingered Rhubarb Jam & DIY Vanilla Extract

In Pickles & Preserves on December 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm

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One of the things I will miss most about my old flat is my garden – a labour of love for about 3 years. Before leaving I harvested it bare, taking with me scores of leeks, a big bag of kale, artichokes and a couple of kohlrabi. My new place – my grandmother’s house – does have a veggie garden (albeit smaller) though it has been badly neglected for some years. I don’t think the soil has been turned in about thirty years! All that was left in it were some gigantic rhubarb plants and some freshly planted parsley. Because the garden wasn’t very big, I decided to dig out the whole thing – a feat which was a much harder than I had imagined! The rhubarb plants were not only huge, but their roots were monstrously strong. However, eventually the garden fork and I triumphed, leaving me with an empty veggie bed and a big pile of rhubarb. And naturally, I did what I always do when presented with an abundance of fruit – I made jam.

It didn’t take long to find a recipe online that caught my eye and peaked my curiousity. It uses very little liquid and a lot of sugar. Interestingly, no liquid apart from a little bit of lemon juice though with the way it works the sugar becomes liquid once heated, leaving you with a very sweet syrupy jam. The sweetness is balanced with a real gingery kick – which I think it definitely needs.

I also tried my hand at making my own vanilla extract. I’ve seen many pins on pinterest about homemade vanilla extract; it looked so easy and so pretty, I couldn’t help but give it a go myself. Even better, when giving the kitchen a spring clean, I unearthed some cute little bottles which  were just perfect – the number even matched the number of vanilla beans I had!

All you need to do is find some little bottles or small jar, fill with one or two vanilla beans and top up with vodka, about a 1:3 ratio. I’ve seen others do it with bourbon (MMMMM, must try that too one day) but I thought I’d play it safe and do it with vodka. I can’t wait to try them in a few months time! I’m guessing the colour will only get richer as time goes on…

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I promise in the next few upcoming posts I will be including some recipes with my own adaptations. Thank you so much to everyone who has liked posts or are following this blog already; I’m touched that there has been interest so quickly!

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