GROW FOOD slow food Have your garden and eat it too. A practical guide to organic gardening in the sub-tropics with step-by-step instructions and delicious seasonal recipes. Come with me too on some of my travels in Australia, Europe, Asia and beyond.

If you have never tried this you are in for a real treat – just opening the lid and smelling the wonderful fragrance of this jam is enough to have you running for a slice of fresh, crusty bread and butter.

I was prompted to make this yesterday because my adult son and daughter are taking a short break to visit their grandmas in the UK – my mum is 87 and my mother-in-law is 97 – and my son hasn’t been for nearly 30 years and my daughter for 20.  What better than a jar of homemade jam to take for them – just hope they can fit it in when we take them to the airport this afternoon!

Traditional in cuisines of the Levant – eastern Mediterranean, I first tried this jam this whilst we were staying in an old Venetian villa on the Greek Island of Folegandros – it was made by the owner’s grandmother and had me determined to try it for myself when I got home – it was so delicious.

Young, plump rhubarb (about 1 kilo)
White sugar – same amount in weight as the rhubarb
About 400 g fragrant, fresh, red rose petals
Juice of 2 lemons


1.  Wash the rhubarb and cut into one-inch pieces and place in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.

2.  Sprinkle with the juice of the lemons and cover with the sugar.  Cover and leave to stand overnight.  DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.

3.  The next day, stir in the rose petals and bring to the boil.

4.  Do not reduce the heat but boil rapidly until setting-point has been reached. It will need to occasional stir to stop it sticking and burning.

5.  Remove from heat, cool slightly and pot in sterilised jars.  Seal when it has cooled.

NOTE:  Leaving the rhubarb overnight, covered in the lemon juice and sugar, helps to draw the moisture out of the fruit – repeat, YOU DO NOT NEED TO ADD WATER – if you do, it won’t set.

This is what it looks like in the morning after sitting overnight – notice how much fluid is in the pan?

Any fragrant, old-fashioned kind of rose will do.  I used Papa Meilland because I have it growing in my garden.  “Roses in the sub-tropics” you might ask, but there are many that do well – specifically those that come from the sub-tropical parts of China – like this tea rose.  It has a long flowering season, sensational dark red colour and heady fragrance.

Talking about tea – time for a cuppa anyone and a slice of bread and jam?
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