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Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe, Easy Freezer Jam

This deli­cious Rhubarb Jam recipe is sweet, but not too much. The sug­ar is bal­anced by the tang of rhubarb, zesty pop of lemon juice and the warm under­tone of high qual­i­ty cinnamon. 

rhubarb jam in a pint jar near a blue pate with toast that is spread with butter and rhubarb jam
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

Rhubarb freez­er jam is spread­ably thick and deeply fla­vor­ful. Like most rhubarb jam recipes, my rhubarb jam is sim­ple to make. 

Rhubarb makes my easy home­made jam a true Spring sen­sa­tion and one of the first jams of the sea­son. This recipe gets 5 stars in my house. And I’ll bet it will in your house, too.

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a peren­ni­al plant, mean­ing it will come back year after year with­out hav­ing to replant. And believe it or not, rhubarb is a veg­etable! It puts the tang in this Rhubarb Jam recipe.

rhubarb plant growing in a garden

Rhubarb is in sea­son dur­ing the spring. In my area we will see it from May through the end of June. Much lat­er than that and the stalks can become more woody and fibrous.

Rhubarb sort of looks like long stalks of cel­ery with huge, ruf­fled green leaves. Rhubarb stalks can range in col­or from green to bright red. And as you can see, that the col­or can from the top to the bot­tom, and the inside to the out­side, of the stalk.

The col­or is NOT an indi­ca­tor of ripeness. Col­or is deter­mined by which of sev­er­al rhubarb vari­eties that your rhubarb comes from. You can pur­chase red rhubarb plants or green rhubarb vari­eties. Whether the stalks are bright green, light pink or bril­liant red, they all taste the same.

rhubarb jam in a pint jar near a blue pate with toast that is spread with butter and rhubarb jam

What Does Rhubarb Taste Like?

It’s sour! If you’ve ever bit­ten into a fresh stalk of raw rhubarb, you’ve expe­ri­enced that puck­er pow­er. Many peo­ple DO like raw rhubarb, though. My grand­kids are among them. You can gauge the amount of sug­ar in this Rhubarb Jam recipe to your per­son­al tastes.

The way most of us have expe­ri­enced rhubarb is after it has been cooked. And, it’s usu­al­ly been paired with sweet fruits (most com­mon­ly, straw­ber­ries) and/or sug­ar. Once that hap­pens, then rhubarb tastes more tart sweet, the way green apples, tart cher­ries or cran­ber­ries would be in a recipe.

two red apples next to a bowl of powdered pectin
Apples have lots of nat­ur­al pectin. Most fruits, though, need pectin pow­der or liq­uid added to prop­er­ly set when canning. 

Do I Need Pectin?

No. Rhubarb only has a small amount of nat­ur­al pectin. How­ev­er, the rhubarb jam recipe calls for enough sug­ar that the jam will thick­en and gel with­out the addi­tion of any oth­er pectin.

Some fruits like apples have high­er lev­els of nat­ur­al pectin and can be added to a recipe to help with thick­en­ing, too. That sim­ply isn’t nec­es­sary with this recipe. I’ve made it as sim­ple as I pos­si­bly can.

fresh rhubarb stalks on a concrete counter next to a blue and white fabric napkin

FAQs About Rhubarb

When is Rhubarb in Sea­son?

Rhubarb is typ­i­cal­ly in sea­son May through June. This can vary slight­ly depend­ing on the plant­i­ng zone you live in. Hot­house rhubarb may be avail­able year round, but does­n’t have as robust a fla­vor as sea­son­al rhubarb.

P.S. That’s right now, my friend! Make all the rhubarb things, right now! lol For instance, this deli­cious Rhubarb Dump Cake over at Lit­tle House, Big Alas­ka is a stun­ning­ly sim­ple and deli­cious dessert! Give it a try, too! 

Do You Have to Peel Rhubarb?

No. Peel­ing isn’t nec­es­sary. Just wash the stalks, thor­ough­ly, and they’re ready to slice into your favorite recipes.

rhubarb jam in a pint jar and a small glass dish. A pale turquoise napkin and stalks of rhubarb are behind
Is Rhubarb Poi­so­nous?

Absolute­ly not! Rhubarb stalks are a nutri­tious veg­etable that is per­fect­ly safe to eat.
Rhubarb leaves, how­ev­er, are not edi­ble. They con­tain oxal­ic acid, mak­ing them tox­ic to humans.
Moral of the Sto­ry? Eat rhubarb. Just the stalks. Com­post the leaves.

The Rhubarb Jam Ingredients

rhubarb slices, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, cinnamon and beet root powder in a pot ready to be cooked into Rhubarb Jam
  • fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/4″ thick (Frozen rhubarb can be sub­sti­tut­ed. If so, use the rhubarb and all liquid.)
  • sug­ar: The recipe says 3–4 cups, to taste. Some will like the tart­ness of the rhubarb jam with just 3 cups of sug­ar. Some will want more sweet­ness. It is a mat­ter of per­son­al preference.
  • lemon, juice and zest
  • cin­na­mon (My favorite is organ­ic Saigon cin­na­mon [affil­i­ate link]. Use the best qual­i­ty cin­na­mon you can get for all your bak­ing. You’ll be sur­prised at the dif­fer­ence it makes in flavor.)
  • water
  • option­al: organ­ic beet root pow­der [affil­i­ate link] I add this only for col­or. It has no impact what­so­ev­er on the taste of the jam. It is unnec­es­sary. The jam is more green with­out it. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can add a drop or two of red food coloring.

The Difference Between Jam and Jelly

rhubarb jam in a pint jar behind an ice cream sundae of vanilla ice cream drizzled with rhubarb jam

Jel­ly is made from the strained juice of fruits and berries. It has no fruit pieces in it. 

When I read online, jam is sup­pos­ed­ly made from mashed fruit. Tech­ni­cal­ly, I don’t mash it, but I do cut the rhubarb into 1/4″ slices and allow those to break down as the jam cooks. That’s usu­al­ly my stan­dard pro­ce­dure for any jam. The fruit, or in this case rhubarb, is in there. But, it’s soft and in small pieces.

If you were to use whole fruits or large pieces of fruit, then your end prod­uct would be con­sid­ered a pre­serve. In my opin­ion, by the time they cook down, there isn’t much dif­fer­ence between jam and preserves.

What is Freezer Jam?

rhubarb jam in a pint jar near a blue pate with toast that is spread with butter and rhubarb jam

Inter­est­ing fact. All jam can be frozen if you don’t have equip­ment for water bath canning. 

Some recipes are specif­i­cal­ly called out as freez­er jam. Freez­er jam does­n’t require the high lev­els of sug­ar that is nec­es­sary to safe­ly can jam. So, you can actu­al­ly cut back on the sug­ar, if that is your preference. 

Freez­er jams are most com­mon­ly made in small batch­es, too. Small batch jams require no water bath can­ning and keep in the fridge for 4 weeks or in the freez­er for up to 6 months.

Freezing Jam

rhubarb jam in a pint jar and a small glass dish. A pale turquoise napkin and stalks of rhubarb are behind

To suc­cess­ful­ly freeze jam is pret­ty sim­ple. It can be frozen in zip top bags, sil­i­cone freez­er con­tain­ers or even in glass jars. 

  • Be sure that the jam has com­plete­ly cooled before attempt­ing to freeze it. (Be cau­tious when work­ing with the hot jam. It is sticky and can pro­duce quite a burn before you wash splat­ters off.)
  • If freez­ing in bags, remove as much excess air as pos­si­ble before sealing.
  • Burp as much air as pos­si­ble out of plas­tic or sil­i­cone con­tain­ers and make sure the seal is tight.
  • Thor­ough­ly wash pint jars and lids. The dish­wash­er is excel­lent for get­ting nice­ly ster­il­ized jars. 
  • To freeze in glass jars, I pre­fer to first freeze the jam with­out the lid. This allows for expan­sion and elim­i­nates any chance of the jar break­ing. Leave at least 1/2″ of head space at the top of the jar to allow for expan­sion. Once the jam is frozen, screw on the lid. 
  • Store in the freez­er for up to 6 months.

How to Make Rhubarb Jam

(See the How to Video in the Recipe Card.)

  1. Wash the fresh rhubarb. Remove the ends. Cut stalks into 1/4″ thick slices.
  2. Com­bine the rhubarb, sug­ar, cin­na­mon, (beet root pow­der, if you’re using it), lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a sauce pan.
  3. Bring the mix­ture to a full rolling boil over medi­um high heat.
  4. Reduce to medi­um heat.  Mix­ture will still be bub­bling, but not vig­or­ous­ly.  Very small bubbles. 
  5. Con­tin­ue cook­ing for 20–30 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly, or until thick. After the 20 minute point, the mix­ture will thick­en more quick­ly, so you will need to be more atten­tive. It can eas­i­ly scorch at this point if not watched carefully.
  6. Use the jam pud­dle in a bowl trick to be sure the jam is done. Place about a tea­spoon of jam into a cold bowl. Run your fin­ger through the cen­ter of the pud­dle. If the line you made with your fin­ger stays there, with­out flood­ing back in to fill up, your jam is done. It will thick­en even more as it cools.

Serving Rhubarb Jam

rhubarb jam in a pint jar behind an ice cream sundae of vanilla ice cream drizzled with rhubarb jam

To enjoy a deli­cious sun­dae with your home­made rhubarb jam, sim­ply place a small amount in a small microwave safe dish and warm it for 15 to 30 sec­onds. It will melt and become thin and driz­zly. Pour it over vanil­la ice cream.

Rhubarb Jam is per­fect for waf­fles and pan­cakes. It’s absolute­ly deli­cious on toast, spread over bagels lay­ered with cream cheese and on bis­cuits hot from the oven! Mix it into your oat­meal with chopped pecans. Heaven!

homemade biscuits on a plate with butter and honey
These easy bis­cuits would be per­fect paired with Rhubarb Jam.

You can spread rhubarb jam over a block of cream cheese and serve it with crack­ers, apple slices and cheese for a yum­my snack or appe­tiz­er, too.

Rhubarb jam can also be mixed with more savory ingre­di­ents like mus­tard, soy sauce or even bal­sam­ic vine­gar to make a rhubarb sauce or glaze for grilled or roast­ed chick­en, pork chops, pork loin, meat­balls or ham.

Ver­sa­tile, easy and so deli­cious! You sim­ply can’t ask more from a jam. I hope you make this recipe and enjoy some of the sea­son’s first pro­duce. Make rhubarb jam! You’ll be so glad you did.

The Recipe

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rhubarb jam in a pint jar near a blue pate with toast that is spread with butter and rhubarb jam

Rhubarb Jam


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 30 min­utes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This deli­cious Rhubarb Jam recipe is sweet, but not too much. It’s a scrump­tious bal­ance with the sig­na­ture tang of rhubarb and the warm under­tone of deli­cious cin­na­mon.  Rhubarb freez­er jam is spread­ably thick and deeply fla­vor­ful. Like most rhubarb jam recipes this one is sim­ple to make.  No water bath can­ning required.  My fam­i­ly gives this yum­my rhubarb jam 5 stars!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 pounds rhubarb, sliced 1/4″ thick (about 5–6 cups)
  • 3 to 4 cups gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar, to taste
  • 1 lg. lemon, juice and zest
  • water, to bring lemon juice lev­el to 3/4 cup
  • 1 tea­spoon cinnamon
  • option­al: 1 tea­spoon beet root pow­der (for color)

Instructions

  1. Wash the rhubarb. Remove the ends. Cut stalks into 1/4″ thick slices.
  2. Com­bine the rhubarb slices, sug­ar, cin­na­mon, (beet root pow­der, if you’re using it), lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a sauce pan.
  3. Bring the mix­ture to a full rolling boil over medi­um-high heat.
  4. Reduce to medi­um heat.  Mix­ture will still be bub­bling, but not vig­or­ous­ly.  Very small bubbles. 
  5. Con­tin­ue cook­ing for 20–30 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly, or until thick. After the 20 minute point, the mix­ture will thick­en more quick­ly, so you will need to be more atten­tive. It can eas­i­ly scorch at this point if not watched carefully.
  6. Use the “jam pud­dle in a bowl” trick to be sure the jam is done. Place about a tea­spoon of jam into a cold bowl. Run your fin­ger through the cen­ter of the pud­dle. If the line you made with your fin­ger stays there, with­out flood­ing back in to fill up, your jam is done. It will thick­en even more as it cools.

Notes

Jam can eas­i­ly be frozen in zip top freez­er bags, sil­i­cone freez­er con­tain­ers or even glass jars.  Some tips to help you:

  • Be sure that the jam has com­plete­ly cooled before attempt­ing to freeze it.
  • If freez­ing in bags, remove as much excess air as pos­si­ble before sealing.
  • Burp as much air as pos­si­ble out of plas­tic or sil­i­cone con­tain­ers and make sure the seal is tight.
  • Thor­ough­ly wash jars and lids. To freeze in glass jars, I pre­fer to first freeze the jam with­out the lid. This allows for expan­sion in the jar and elim­i­nates any chance of the jar break­ing. Leave at least 1/2″ of head space at the top of the jar to allow for expan­sion. Once the jam is frozen, screw on the lid.
  • Store in the freez­er for up to 6 months.
  • Prep Time: 10 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 20 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Dips, Condi­ments and Sauces
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

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18 thoughts on “Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe, Easy Freezer Jam”

  1. Thank you so much for shar­ing this amaz­ing recipe! Will sure­ly have this again! It’s real­ly easy to make and it tast­ed so deli­cious! High­ly recommended!

    Reply

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