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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 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.
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.
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.
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 over at Little House, Big Alaska is a stunningly simple and delicious dessert! Give it a try, too! Rhubarb Dump Cake
Do You Have to Peel Rhubarb?
No. Peeling isn’t necessary. Just
, and they’re ready to slice into your favorite recipes. wash the stalks, thoroughly
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
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
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?
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.
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.)
Wash the fresh rhubarb. Remove the ends. Cut stalks into 1/4″ thick slices. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, (beet root powder, if you’re using it), lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium heat. Mixture will still be bubbling, but not vigorously. Very small bubbles. 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. 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
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
hot from the oven! Mix it into your oatmeal with chopped pecans. Heaven! biscuits
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 Print
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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!
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
1 teaspoon cinnamon
optional: 1 teaspoon beet root powder (for color)
Wash the rhubarb. Remove the ends. Cut stalks into 1/4″ thick slices.
Combine the rhubarb slices, sugar, cinnamon, (beet root powder, if you’re using it), lemon zest, lemon juice and water in a sauce pan.
Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce to medium heat. Mixture will still be bubbling, but not vigorously. Very small bubbles.
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.
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.
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