Preserving · Recipes

Small Batch Canning: Rhubarb Jam

When I left my rhubarb plants behind at the old house, I planted new ones as soon as I could. Being first year plants I wasn’t expecting much this year – and I still haven’t harvested them. It is good to let them grow the first year and to be very careful if you do harvest (I’ll harvest mine before the first frost probably, but that is me). Come the second year, you will get 2-3 harvests over the season, that will keep you well stocked. So, I wasn’t planning on rhubarb anything this year. On Wednesday last week I was at a local farmer’s mid-week sale and she had a neighbor who had dropped off a huge box of it – that anyone could have for free. Free is always good!


This jam isn’t overly sweet, allowing the tartness of the rhubarb to shine through. Less a spreading jam, and more a topping. Perfect spooned over vanilla ice cream I might add!

Rhubarb Jam



Wash canning jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.

Measure and place rhubarb in a large pot, stir in lemon juice and pectin. Warm over medium heat, mashing often with a potato masher, until the rhubarb has softened. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirring). Stir in sugar quickly, return to a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute after it returns to the boil. Take off the heat.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle the hot jam into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Leave a ¼” headspace.

Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) If you are using a different brand of pectin, be sure to read their directions and to follow them.

Makes about 6 8-ounce jars. (I used a variety of sizes)


You might wonder about the color of the jam. Not all rhubarb is red – in fact, it is often a pale to medium green in color. It depends on the variety. If your rhubarb is a paler color, you may want to slip in some strawberries for a boost in color – because the pale rhubarb will give you a beige color jam. Still tasty, but nowhere as appetizing looking!