Rhubarb Jam

I’ve been making marmalades for months now.  There have been oranges, lemons, tangerines, kumquats, grapefruit and pomelos scattered all over every surface in kitchen. Every time I finish with one case of citrus, I’ll swear to myself that I’m not doing any more marmalades because I’m so sick of finely slicing things… and then about two days will pass, I’ll forget my vow, and then decide it’s a good idea to do something idiotic like make 40 jars of kumquat marmalade.  (About 5 minutes after I start, I remember that I totally meant to not go down that road again, but since I don’t like wasting things I end up powering through several cases of kumquats and getting a bunch of calluses on my fingers from all the knife-work.)

After this whole marmalade saga, I can say that as of right now, I’m officially down to one last single lemon. If you see me at a farmers market, please just say:

LISTEN.  DON’T DO IT. IT’S NOT WORTH IT. STAY AWAY FROM THE ORANGES.

(But just writing that, I start thinking – ah, but I don’t really have enough blood orange things in jars, and I never got to do anything with those rangpur limes that Shae keeps raving about , so I can basically guarantee that I’m going to continue down this destructive path of citrus addiction for atleast another month or two.)

I’m trying though! See? This rhubarb jam is completely different from all of the elaborate marmalades I’ve been working on.  It’s just plain rhubarb, no bells and whistles at all.  I wanted to make something that was bright and clean tasting and completely true to the flavor of the fruit. So the rhubarb ends up doing this sweet-tart thing that’s so, so tasty….  This is, without a doubt, in my top 5 favorite preserves.  I want to put it on everything.  I like it so much that I’m pretty sure I’m going to put in a twenty foot row of rhubarb in the garden so that I can really have enough to play with.  Rhubarb Jam

This recipe is my own, but very much inspired by the methods used in the Blue Chair Fruit cookbook and the vibrant colors of the jam over at INNA Jam, which I’ve never tasted before but I’ve stared at a lot on the internet.

Makes: a little more than 5 half pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 lbs. rhubarb
  • 4 c. sugar
  • lemon juice to taste, around 1/4 c.

Day 1:

Remove the leaves from the rhubarb stalks and discard.  Wash the stalks.  Slice the stalks into small pieces about 1/2″ wide.  In a nonreactive container (like a large tupperware or glass bowl), combine the chopped rhubarb and the sugar.  Cover.  Put the container in the fridge for a day or two to macerate.

Day 2:

Cook the jam: Bring boiling water canner to a boil.  Put the rhubarb mixture into a wide, heavy-bottomed pot.  Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally.  Try to be gentle when you stir so you keep some chunks of rhubarb; the pieces are very tender and fall apart very easily.  I didn’t use a thermometer when I cooked this; I noticed that the jam visibly thickened more than it really looked like it had gelled.  The rhubarb will start wanting to stick to the bottom of the pot towards the very end of the cooking time, so make sure to keep stirring and keep a close eye on it towards the end of the cooking time.  It ends up being  a soft set jam, but the texture is wonderful, thick enough.  Add in the lemon juice towards the end of the cooking time, going about a tablespoon at a time.  I wanted this to be pretty tart, so I put in a lot, but you don’t have to use as much as I did.  It’s fine to turn off the jam, let it sit for a minute, taste it, and stir in a little more lemon juice if it needs a more brightness.

Ladle cooked jam into clean jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars completely clean and screw on lids.  Process for 10 minutes, remembering to adjust for altitude if necessary.

NOTE: I like how simple this recipe is, but you could certainly use it as a starting point and add some other flavorings in.  Future batches might have things like candied ginger, orange zest, lavender, etc. mixed in, but I wanted something simple before I pulled out all the fancy stuff.

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21 responses to “Rhubarb Jam

  1. So glad I came across your blog. I really want to start making my own jams and also learn how to can some veggies. I think Im going to love this!

  2. Do you have a favorite rhubarb variety to grow? I need to replant – my dog dug up and destroyed my rhubarb patch getting rid of pesky chipmunks And it was just getting mature enough so that I would have plenty for jam. (sigh.) Have you ever noticed a difference in the flavor of different rhubarb varieties?

  3. Love it . . . and may just go right for adding lavender!

  4. This jam sounds so delicious. I had never ever eaten rhubarb of any kind until last summer when my sister made Norwegian Rhubarb Soup. Boy was it good! I looked it up to see if we could grow it here, but I guess it needs cooler weather than we have in Calif. Enjoy your jam, I am salivating just looking at it :)

  5. This sounds delicious! can’t wait for spring rhubarb to start popping up here in Edmonton to give this a try!

  6. This is simply perfect!

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  9. This looks great. Is it possible to freeze it instead of using the boiling water canner?

  10. Diane Powell

    If you make alot of jellies you need to buy a steamer juicer Lehmans.com from it cuts your prep time more than half . No more cheese cloth put friut in top and out comes pure juice.

  11. I just visited a girlfriend last weekend who made a great rhubarb crisp and mentioned how much she loves all things rhubarb, so I asked her if she’d ever made jam. She didn’t even know you could. I’ve made rhubarb/strawberry jam, but this recipe looks just perfect for her! I’ll send her your site information. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  14. Hello..I just harvested some of my rhubarb and went searching for some recipes and I cam across your blog! I made the jam! I am so excited about it. I made little gifts for my daughter’s teachers with a jar of rhubarb jam, a bowl and an ice cream scoop. This jam is unbelievable over ice cream. Thanks so much for sharing.

  15. Hi…I already have my rhubarb cut & cooked, but I’m not sure how much it was to begin with. Any idea how many cups of cooked rhubarb you need for your recipe? Thank you!

  16. I’m fairly new to the whole canning thing. I have a few rhubarb plants and have been harvesting and freezing to make a bunch of jam. Your recipe seems simple enough, but you don’t say how long you cook the jam for. Just that once in the jars you process them in the boiling water cancer for ten minutes. So how long did you cook the jam until you added the lemon juice and do you continue to cook it after the lemon juice is added? Thanks

  17. I dont have a kitchen scale, how much roughly in cups is 3 1/4lbs rhubarb?

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