Rhubarb, Vanilla & Cardamom Jam, Small Batch

Tuesday 19 February 2019

When I had a growing family, I made oodles and scads of jams, preserves, jellies and pickles every year.  I spent hours putting up fruit and veg from our garden for the winter and all of it got eaten. 

Now that there are only two of us, it just isn't practical anymore as it never gets eaten.  The only kind of preserving I do now, is small batch preserving.  That is what suits the size of our family most of all.

I love rhubarb preserves however and was recently inspired by the influx of early rhubarb in our shops to make a small batch for my husband and myself to enjoy, but with a twist.  

This is Rhubarb, Vanilla & Cardamom Jam . . .  this is a delicious trinity of very good taste! 

See how lovely and pink the rhubarb is?  It comes from an area in the UK known as the "Rhubarb Triangle."  

This covers a 9 square mile area in West Yorkshire which is famous for producing early season Forced Rhubarb.  

This rhubarb has a Protected Designation of Origin status. (PDO)  Rhubarb which is a native plant species of Siberia actually thrives in the soil and wet and cold winters of this area of the UK.  

Forced rhubarb grown in sheds has a beautiful pink colour and is a quite a bit more tender that that which is grown outdoors in the summer months.

I used some to make an upside down cake one day and I had just enough left over to make this lovely jam.   

This jam comes from a recipe I adapted from a site called Lovely Greens.

The addition of the vanilla and cardamom are my own additions.  I love the three flavours together. 

The rhubarb is tart, and the addition of lemon juice helps to preserve the pink colour and integrity of the tartness of the fruit. 

The vanilla adds a beautiful aroma and flavour which goes very well with the flavour of the fruit  . . .  I think it actually enhances it.

Cardamom adds an additional flavour.  There is just a small amount  . . .  just enough to give a hint of warmth and additional fragrance . . . it lends a gentle almost citrus-like flavour which goes so very well with the fruit.

 Just a hint which is not over-powering in any way.  You can leave it out altogether if you wish.  I, personally, quite like it.

I had a fresh Parisian loaf from the bakery . . .  I cut it into thin slices and lightly buttered it with some softened Danish butter  . . .

I almost could not wait for the jam to cool down entirely before I was wanting to dig my spoon into it . . .

I know we were going to  be in for a real taste treat!

I was right.  This was pure and utter early Spring bliss . . .

Yield: Makes 2 (340g/12 ounce) jars

Rhubarb, Vanilla & Cardamom Jam

The taste of spring, flavoured lightly with vanilla and ground cardamom. Rhubarb, vanilla and cardamom are a trinity of great taste.  This is another small batch recipe.


  • 500g early rhubarb (1 pound)
  • 475g jam sugar (has pectin in it) (2 1/2 cups)
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom


  1. Wash the rhubarb and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place into a reaction free container/saucepan along with the sugar.  Cover and place on the side overnight.
  2. When you are ready to make the jam.  Place on the stove, over medium heat, and bring to the boil. Add the cardamom and lemon juice and continue to boil, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for five minutes.  Stir in the Vanilla paste.  Ladle into hot clean and sterile jars.  Seal tightly while still hot.  Once cooled, if the lids have popped down you can store in a dry dark place. Otherwise store in the refrigerator.  Delicious.
  3. Note - Jam sugar is granulated sugar which has the pectin already added.
Created using The Recipes Generator

What a wonderfully European combination  . . .  soft chewy bread from France . . .  pink rhubarb from England . . .  and creamy lightly salted butter from Denmark.  How very cosmopolitan!  Bon Appetit! 


  1. I must check about for the jam sugar..I've never used it and saw it mentioned on two other UK blogs:) It looks perfect!!

    1. I think you could just use pectin and regular sugar also Monique. I is just a really crumbly sugar with the pectin included. Its a lovely jam! xo

  2. How much pectin? I'm in Canada and have never heard of jam sugar!

    1. I found this for you Amelia. You can just use the sugar, but you may have to boil the jam for considerably longer.

      Tips On Getting Jam To Set Without Jam Sugar:

      The most useful tool if you want to be sure you have reached the setting point for a jam or jelly is a thermometer. This takes all the guesswork out of whether or not you have hit a jam setting point. When the temperature of a boiling jam hits 105°C / 220°F you know you have removed enough water from the fruit so pectin can begin forming bonds.

      There are other tests you can do such as the spoon test, however, taking the temperature really is foolproof.

      If you are using fruit that is low in pectin it is a good idea to mix ripe fruit with just-ripe fruit. The riper the fruit the lower the pectin content. Fruit that is only just ripe contains more pectin so if you can mix the ripeness of the fruits you are using in your recipe you can boost the amount of pectin meaning the jam will set easier.

      There is a certain art to jam making, the thing is to keep trying. Start out with fruits that you know have higher pectin content and when you are comfortable being able to make these move on to fruits that are trickier to set. Eventually, it will become easy.

    2. I would just like to know how much pectin to use to make this batch!!

    3. I wish I could tell you. I thought my answer was a good one as it told you how to get your jam to set without pectin.

  3. 3 of my favourite things in 1 jar. Got to give this a try


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