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Lillie O’Brien’s Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb & Grappa Jam

Images by Ho Hai Tran



Lillie O’Brien has been working in restaurants since she was 13 years old. Originally from Victoria, she started out working at Tartine, Melbourne followed by 7 years at St. John Bread & Win. She’s now based in the UK and runs London Borough of Jam, her dedicated jam shop which she opened in 2013 on Chatsworth Rd in London.

Lillie loves working with seasonal fruit and under-utilised botanicals.



Lillie’s book, The Five Seasons Of Jam published by Kyle Books

The Recipe

YORKSHIRE FORCED RHUBARB & GRAPPA JAM
Makes 5 x 220g jars

Linen apron in mustard by IN BED
Linen apron in mustard by IN BED

Lillie wears an IN BED linen apron in mustard.

“I have chosen to share this recipe as its peak Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb season here in the UK. Apart from that and Italian citrus we don’t really have anything else to use at the moment.”



“My favourite way to eat this jam is on porridge as its nice and tart & tangy.”

“The Grappa in the recipe can be easily omitted. Australians don’t technically have access to forced rhubarb but they could very easily grow it themselves.”



“Out of respect for this very special vegetable, it is really important to make this jam in small batches, otherwise it ends up boiling for too long and you lose the vibrancy of both colour and flavour. As the Yorkshire forced rhubarb season comes to an end you will notice that a few boxes of seconds (thinner stalks) might start appearing in markets, which are a bit cheaper in price. These are the last of the stems that the crowns would have produced at the five to six weeks maturation and are perfect for jam-making. Try to select the pinkest ones possible so that the jam has a strong colour.”

Out of respect for this very special vegetable, it is really important to make this jam in small batches, otherwise it ends up boiling for too long and you lose the vibrancy of both colour and flavour.

Ingredients

1kg Yorkshire forced rhubarb
600g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
100ml grappa (optional)

Method

  1. Trim the leaves from the rhubarb stalks and discard. Wash the stalks in cold water.
  2. Slice the rhubarb into 2cm pieces and put in a heavy-based preserving pan. Set the pan over a medium heat and slowly cook the rhubarb until it starts to break down, being careful not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once it has started to soften, slowly add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and boil for 8 minutes, stirring so that it doesn’t catch, or until the jam reaches setting point, 105ºC on sugar thermometer. You may need to turn the heat down a little if it does start to catch. Turn off the heat and leave the jam to rest for 5 minutes, stirring every minute to distribute the bubbles. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. Store in a cool dry place.

Linen tea towel in navy stripe by IN BED

A Heavyweight linen tea towel in Navy Stripe by IN BED.

TIPS

As Yorkshire forced rhubarb has been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status, it will be hard to find outside the UK so perhaps try growing your own in a terracotta cloche in your garden, which provides the same forcing conditions. You could also try using a large pot or dustbin to cover the crown.

As Yorkshire forced rhubarb has been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status, it will be hard to find outside the UK so perhaps try growing your own in a terracotta cloche in your garden, which provides the same forcing conditions.

Grappa is a spirit made in Italy from the skins left over from pressing grapes for wine. It is very high in alcohol – 40–60 per cent – and is traditionally served as a digestive after dinner.

Finished Jam goes onto the shelves.

Recipe shared from Lillie’s book, The Five Seasons Of Jam, published by Kyle Books.

@londonboroughofjam


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