Back in 2011, the very first jam I ever made was rhubarb jam.
My photos weren’t as good back then… so if you click that link, bear with me.
I was really surprised back then at how easy it was. It was my foray into “jamming.” I had no prior homemade jamming experience at that point and it was definitely a pleasant one. And I was so proud of it. It thickened and came together so quickly, and there was no drama. In that sense it’s kind of like cranberry sauce- it just sort of thickens without any extra effort. It doesn’t have a naturally high pectin content but it still maintains a nice consistency. You can cook it down until it’s thicker, keep it loose or even add pectin if you like… depending on how you like your jams.
Rhubarb comes in two kinds: the thinner stalked pale pink & green kind, and the big fat giant magenta/hot pink kind. At any rate, those are generally the two types I see most often in my farmer’s markets, fruit stands & supermarkets. Usually, I end up with the first, paler & greener kind. But I happened to get my hands on some of the hot pink ones for a good price, so I had to jump on it. But any & every kind will work in this. The color will vary, that’s all.
The addition of strawberries just amps up the pink color, amps up the flavor and also sweetens it a bit more (rhubarb can be quite tart). My mom loves rhubarb, so this was part of her Mother’s Day extravaganza! Who doesn’t love getting a few pints of homemade preserves?
They’re a stunning color too.
These are especially appreciated because it’s mainly made of rhubarb, which is only around for a brief, fleeting moment once a year. This way those jars can last for months & months & when it’s a freezing cold fall or winter day, she can be reminded of the spring.
This recipe can also be halved & tucked into a small jar in the fridge for immediate gratification.
You can also omit the berries & make it straight up rhubarb. Another thing: some folks prefer to peel their rhubarb. I don’t- I always leave the skin on. However you can peel it. Go here for instructions or details on that, as well as picking the right rhubarb.
Makes roughly 7-8 pints; can be halved or quartered
- 4 lbs. rhubarb, rinsed & tough ends cut off
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- Sterilize your jars & lids (I like to do this in the dishwasher). Place the lids in a bowl of hot water to prep the seals & set aside. Keep jars hot.
- Slice the rhubarb into 3/4″ chunks. If you’re going to peel it do so before slicing.
- In a large pot or saucepan, add the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, water & lemon juice. Cover & let sit for anywhere from a half hour to an hour.
- Place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly & skimming the foam, for about 15-20 minutes.
- Bring the heat down to medium and simmer, continuing to stir occasionally to make sure its not scorching or burning. After another 15 minutes, you can do the freezer test to see if the thickness is where you want it. If not, you can just keep cooking until you visually see it got thicker, or you can stop here for a “loose” jam/preserve.
- Spoon the preserves into the jars, wipe rims clean. Place the lids & screw on the bands to just fingertip tight. Process jars in a water bath for 5 minutes (pint jars or 8-oz. jars) or 10 minutes (quart jars).
- Let jars cool completely on a clean tea towel. Check the jars after 24 hours for a seal. Label your jars! Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated & used right away. Shelf-stable sealed jars should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place and will be good for a year.