Skip to Content

Easy Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Not all rhubarb is created equal. Neither are homemade jams, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

This rings especially true when you have the opportunity to grow and harvest rhubarb stalks from your very own garden.

See, not all rhubarb is bright red and colorful as you might assume, though you can force it to be sweeter. You might even be surprised to find out that there are between 60-100 varieties of rhubarb. Yet, identifying the nuances is difficult.

Everyone dreams of rhubarb this color, but that’s not always the case.

Green Rhubarb, Red Rhubarb, All the Lovely Rhubarb

Within different rhubarb plants you’ll discover numerous levels of acidity, texture, color and – most importantly – flavor.

Rhubarb variety is unknown, yet the flavor is exceptional. Mostly red on the outside, green on the inside.

It is worth noting here that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your green stalks, or your less-than-red rhubarb jam. Some varieties are just like that.

Take Victoria rhubarb for instance. It is an heirloom variety of green-stalked rhubarb that grows to incredible heights and produces a vast amount of pounds per plant. You don’t even need to peel them before cooking or freezing.

Why isn’t anybody talking about this? Because it is green, not red?

And how about Turkish rhubarb? It is another variety of green rhubarb that gives you a later harvest. A bit on the sweeter side, with a hint of citrus.

Let’s set aside the notion of color for a second, after all, we don’t eat with our eyes. How lucky for us!

The simple test for making an excellent rhubarb jam, is to first make a rhubarb crumble or pie.

To know what your easy rhubarb jam will taste like, all you need to do is bake dessert and eat it. Tasty enough, right?

Head out to the backyard, shop at a store or a market for a bunch of rhubarb stalks and you are halfway there.

If you don’t yet have any pie or crumble recipes of your own, sample your rhubarb in these dishes first:

If you enjoy the flavor of the rhubarb in your pie, then you’ll love it in your jam.

Related Reading: 7 Rhubarb Recipes That Go Beyond Boring Pie

Easy Rhubarb Jam Ingredients

Easy rhubarb jam: rhubarb stalks, honey (or sugar) and lemon juice.

When a recipe is uncomplicated, you are bound to make it more often.

Some of your favorite foods may be this way, without you even recognizing it. Fried potatoes, fresh garden salads, apricot jam.

Even when canning, a few quality ingredients can go a long way.

So, what do you need to make a small batch of rhubarb jam?

  • 4 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of honey (or the same amount of sugar)
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of water

No pectin is needed. You can always toss the appropriate amount in, though, should you like your jam to be a bit thicker.

Also, if you’d like to make a larger batch at once, go ahead and upscale the amounts accordingly.

A special note on sweetness – not all jams are created equal.

We live in an oversweetened world.

Sugar is added to nearly everything we consume, that is, if we are eating processed foods. And most jam recipes, rhubarb included, have a 1:1 ratio of sugar to weight of fruit. Or in this case, vegetable.

It’s true, that sugar adds to the bulk, or the mass of the jam. Although it isn’t necessarily needed to enjoy eating what you produce.

In your own home, you have the ability to downsize your sugar intake, or to eliminate it altogether. Your cooking pots, your body, your choice.

You can also choose to use less sweetener in this recipe, according to your taste preferences. We’ve done just that in our own private stock.

You can also make more jam at once and put it in jars (or the freezer) for winter.

There are several reasons homemade jams are better than store-bought.

Setting sweetness aside, when you grow your own crops organically, you’ll find nothing comparable at the store. If you do, the price tag might make you skip on by.

Grow your own fruits and vegetables – or buy from the growers – for the best tasting jams you’ll ever eat.

Homemade jams also have another immeasurable quality: they are made by hand. Love goes into them. That’s reason enough to learn how to make your own and share it with the ones you adore and appreciate.

Jams make excellent gifts too – just in case you are thinking ahead.

Instructions for Rhubarb Jam

1. Gather, trim and wash ingredients

That’s enough stalks for at least 10 jars of easy rhubarb jam.

To make a decent size batch of jam that isn’t gone in a flash, gather about 1 1/2 pounds of rhubarb stalks.

Trim both ends and give them a good wash in cool water.

Embrace efficiency in the kitchen. Trim, then wash the rhubarb stalks.

Note 1: If using sugar, it is best to let the chopped rhubarb and sugar sit overnight. When you are ready to cook the jam, first bring the juice to a simmer, then add the rhubarb, cooking till it thickens.

The easy way to make rhubarb jam is to just toss all ingredients in the pot at once and cook.

Note 2: Most of you already know this, but for those who don’t, rhubarb leaves are toxic. They contain high levels of oxalic acid and should never be eaten. However, there are 5 good uses for rhubarb leaves, including leaving them in the garden as mulch.

2. Cut rhubarb

It all boils down to texture. Some people don’t enjoy the stringiness of rhubarb one bit.

In that case, cut the pieces as small as you wish. In the end it will become a smooth consistency.

Some green, some red, some reddish-green. It all goes into the pot.

For the really wide pieces, cut them in half lengthwise. The point is to try and get the pieces to an equal size.

3. Start cooking the jam

Once your pot of perfectly chopped rhubarb is on the stove, you’ll want to add a little bit of water to prevent it from burning on the bottom.

You’ll also want to add the honey (or sugar) at this time.

And lemon juice too. It lowers the pH and releases the pectin that is naturally in the stalks.

Stir often till everything is dissolved.

Then stir some more.

Once your jam-to-be is boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer (still stirring!) for 15-20 minutes.

4. Sample for the perfect sweet-tart balance

Now comes the fun part, sampling your jam.

Spoon a small portion out on a plate and let it chill. Sample it for both flavor and consistency.

Not sweet enough for your taste? Add a tiny bit more sweetness.

Too runny? Let it simmer another 10 minutes longer and sample again.

Freezing Rhubarb Jam

This easy rhubarb jam recipe uses no commercial pectin and you don’t even need any canning skills to enjoy it in the cold of winter.

What you can do is freeze it.

The ability to freeze jam allows you to make small batches when fruits are in season. It gives your freedom to try new flavor combinations. Plus it is quick to make and store.

Let the jam come to room temperature before eating or freezing it for winter.

If you are going to be freezing your rhubarb jam, let it come to room temperature before storing it in airtight container or glass storage jars.

Easy rhubarb jam can also be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Optional: Canning advice for Rhubarb Jam

For all the canning enthusiasts out there, my first advice is to go big. Start with at least 10 pounds of rhubarb and you won’t be disappointed.

Second advice: try different versions and new-to-you flavors.

Canned sweet rhubarb jam and sour rhubarb sauce. One for treats, the other for serving with meats.

There are so many recipes out there to try, here are a few to help you get started:

It’s also worth investing in a canning cookbook, especially if you are just getting started with preserving your own food.

Recommended reading: The All New Ball® Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes

Rhubarb Jam Variations

A small batch of rhubarb jam is ready from start to finish in about half an hour. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Easy is great, though sometimes you are seeking a bit more complexity in a homemade jam.

One that includes more daring flavor combinations.

Or at least one that is sweetly tart, as is the luscious jam made with strawberries.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam

Strawberries and rhubarb is a classic combo, found in everything from pies to sauces, bars and crumbles.

It is also regularly found in jam too.

All you need is rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon. No pectin involved here either.

Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

You wouldn’t actually think that vanilla beans and rhubarb would match, would you?

This vanilla-rhubarb recipe you really have to try. It even has one cup of strong brewed Earl Grey tea in it. Tea and jam in one dish, sounds great to me.

Rhubarb and Gin Jam

If the thought of gin-soaked rhubarb excites your taste buds, then this rhubarb and ginger gin jam is just for you. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a dollop with breakfast.

If you have a few stalks of fresh rhubarb that didn’t make it into the jam pot, don’t let them go to waste.

Make rhubarb ice cream, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb BBQ sauce, rhubarb chutney or rhubarb wine. Salty or sweet, anything made with rhubarb will always be a special treat worth sharing.

Get the famous Rural Sprout newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Including Sunday ramblings from our editor, Tracey, as well as “What’s Up Wednesday” our roundup of what’s in season and new article updates and alerts.

We respect your email privacy

Cheryl Magyar

Well, hello, szia and bună ziua!

My name is Cheryl Magyar and I am a homesteader, organic no-dig gardener and preserver of fruits, vegetables, herbs and life in general. I'm also a forager and a rewilder, rewilding myself and our land in Breb, Romania, along with my husband and our teenage daughter.

Since 2001 I have been living a simple life, going on 15+ years without running water inside our home, heating with firewood cut with a two-wo/man crosscut saw and enjoying the quiet solitude of the countryside where haystacks outnumber the people.

What you wouldn't guess about me, is that I was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago. If I can do this, you can too! It's a life you get to choose, so choose wisely. Because I know you're curious, I've spent 8 years homesteading (raising mangalica pigs, goats and ducks) and gardening on our tanya in Ópusztaszer, Hungary. This lifestyle is going on 8 years in Romania. I wouldn't change it for the world.

To discover more about me, and about us:

you can follow on Instagram
read into our website at Forest Creek Meadows
stop by for a visit and/or a (re)workshop
or shop our growing Etsy store Earth Gratitude Studio

Hope to see you around!