Jelly wobbles in and out of fashion and we get a kick from serving jelly to grown-ups. The trick still works – make a jelly wobble and everyone smiles. It is a happy food.
Rhubarb is a great food to include in your diet if you have IBS and suffer from a sensitive gut. It counts as one of your five a day and a 130g serving is low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS) – (it weighs less after cooking).
Botanically rhubarb is not a fruit but a stalk. For a cook rhubarb is used mainly as a fruit although it stewed and served with pork and mackerel as its sharp flavour cuts through the richness of these two foods. Rhubarb is available in the UK from early January when it is at its best. More mature rhubarb is lovely too but less pink. It is available for most of the year.
This delightful jelly uses the juice released from stewed rhubarb. Any rhubarb left over can be served with non dairy cream or custard on another day or used as a breakfast compote. The other nice things about making a jelly is that they can sit happily in the fridge for a few days without spoiling.
The rule of thumb when making jelly set is to use 1 sheet of gelatine per 100 ml/3 ½ fl oz liquid. This makes a firm jelly that stays intact when removed from the mould. If you make jelly in a glass and do not intend to take it out, less gelatine can be used.
Rhubarb and rosewater jelly
Takes 15 minutes and 4 hours to set
- 1 kg/ 2lb 4 oz young, pink rhubarb, washed and trimmed
- 200 ml/7 fl oz water
- 175g /6 oz caster sugar
- 1 star anise
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp rose water
- 5 leaves of gelatine
Cut the rhubarb into 5cm /2 in pieces and place in a saucepan. Add the water, caster sugar and star anise. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the rhubarb for 15 minutes or until very soft.
Place a double layer of muslin in a sieve positioned over a jug. Transfer the cooked rhubarb to the sieve and let the juice work its way through. Add the lemon juice and rosewater to the rhubarb juice.
Top up the volume of juice to 500 ml/ 18 fl oz with cold water.
Cut the sheets of gelatine into strips and place them in a large heatproof bowl with 4 tablespoons of the rhubarb and lemon juice. Leave for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften. Meanwhile heat a small saucepan of water. Place the bowl of softened gelatine over the saucepan of simmering water and stir while the gelatin melts.
Pour the sweetened rhubarb juice over the melted gelatin and stir well. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve to ensure it is clear and then fill your jelly mould(s) or individual glasses. Allow the jelly to cool a little before putting in the fridge until set.
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Check out The IBS Network for more information on IBS and how to manage your sensitive gut.