Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This strawberry rhubarb jam is easy to make and easy to vary too. You could substitute raspberries or cherries for the strawberries, or just go with straight rhubarb if you prefer.

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Regardless of whether or not you are going to can this jam to make it shelf stable, it’s a good idea to properly wash and sterilize the jars you will be using. This recipe will make 6 (8-ounce) jars or 3 pint jars, so gather whatever collection of jars you’d like to use and either sterilize them in the dishwasher with the sterilize cycle, or boil them in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes – this includes the lids and rings too. Let everything air dry.

Jars air-drying for jam

The next step is to put a small plate or two in the freezer. This is so that you can test the jam when the time comes to know if it has cooked for long enough and will set up in your jars.

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Strawberries and rhubarb simmering in a pot with lemon halves.

While you’re doing all this prep, chop up the rhubarb and strawberries and mix them with all the other ingredients – water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon halves, seeds and all. Letting all the ingredients sit together for a little while before you boil it into jam allows for all the intense sugars in the fruit to come out and you’ll end up with a more vibrant jam. After an hour or so, bring everything to a boil and let it simmer strongly, skimming off any of the impurities that rise to the surface as foam. Removing as much of the foam as possible will leave you with a more translucent jam.

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Strawberry  Rhubarb Jam simmering in a pot with lemon halves.

Once your jam has simmered for about 30 minutes, it should be ready to test. You’re testing to see if the jam has reached its gel or set point and this is where those plates in the freezer come in. Dropping some of the jam onto a frozen plate chills it quickly so that you can see what the consistency will be like when the jam cools. If it runs on the plate, it needs a little more time in the pot. If it sits on the plate, it’s time to take the pot off the heat.

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Transferring strawberry rhubarb jam into jars with a ladle.

Transfer the jam into the sterilized jars very carefully – hot jam makes a nasty burn. Then, you can decide whether or not you want to process the jars in a water bath to seal them and make them shelf stable, or if you know yourself better and realize that these delicious jars of jam will be gone in two weeks time just refrigerate them once they have cooled. 😉

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Three jars of strawberry rhubarb jam on a wooden table.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam on toast on a green plate with a cup of coffee.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

  • Prep Time: 1 h 15 m
  • Cook Time: 30 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 45 m
  • Servings:
    96

Ingredients

  • 6 cups rhubarb sliced ½-inch thick
  • 4 cups strawberries sliced
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 2 lemons

Instructions

  1. Start by preparing your jam jars. You can do this in your dishwasher using the sterilize cycle or you can simmer the jars and lids in water on the stovetop for 15 minutes. This recipe will make 6 8-ounce jars, or 3 pint jars of jam.

  2. Place 2 or 3 small plates in the freezer. You will use these later to test the gel point of the jam.

  3. Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and water in a large pot. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze out all the juice into the pot. Throw the spent lemon halves and all the seeds into the pot as well - lemon peel, zest and seeds are very high in pectin, which is critical to helping your jam set. Toss these ingredients together and let them sit off the heat for an hour. This will intensify the fruit flavors.

  4. After an hour, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the jam at a strong simmer, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes. Foam will rise to the surface. Skim this off as it appears and discard.

  5. Reduce the heat a little to keep the jam at a constant simmer and let it go for another 15 minutes. You don't have to stir quite as regularly here, but keep your eyes on the jam and stir every once in a while to make sure you aren't scorching the bottom.

  6. After a total of 30 minutes on the stove, check to see if the jam has set by dropping a teaspoon of jam on one of the plates that have been in the freezer. If the jam has reached its gel point it will set up quickly on the plate and won't run when you tip the plate. If it is a good consistency, proceed to the next step. If the jam is too runny, simply continue to boil it, checking every 5 minutes with a new plate.

  7. When the jam has set, remove the lemon halves and any seeds that you can see and transfer the jam into the sterilized jars, filling to the bottom-most ring at the top of the jar. If you plan to consume the jam within a couple of weeks, top the jars with lids, secure with the rings and store in the refrigerator. If you want to can the jam, proceed with the next step.

  8. Once you've filled the jars, tap the jars on the countertop to release any air bubbles and wipe the rims of the jars clean. Top the jars with the lids and secure with the rings. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a rack in the bottom of the pot. Lower the jars into the boiling water to rest on the rack. Boil the jars for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove the jars carefully and let them cool on the countertop. You will hear a pop for each jar as the jam cools - this is a sign that the seal has formed on the lid. If the jars have sealed properly (check by removing the ring and making sure the lid is secure), you can store this jam at room temperature for up to a year.

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Comments (13)Post a Reply

  1. I haven’t tried this yet because I don’t have Rhubarb…but I do have strawberries. Could you just use strawberries for the recipe? How does this jell without pectin?
    I have heard of putting apples in the recipe with strawberries for the pectin but never
    lemon. Have you ever made strawberry freezer jam?

    1. Using sugar substitutes is a little tricky because you’re trying to replace an ingredient (sugar) that does more than just sweeten. Sugar also helps the jam gel AND is the main preservative in the jam. There are also many different varieties of sugar substitutes available these days which all have their own properties. If you did want to try making it without sugar, you might want to add a no-sugar pectin to help it gel and read the instructions on your sugar substitute package for guidance.

  2. I just wanted to know if I could substitute a sweetener substitute like Splenda for the sugar and if it would gel?

    1. Hi Julie. Substituting the sugar is a little tricky. Sugar not only sweetens the jam, but reacts with the pectin to form a web that helps the jam gel and thicken. Sugar also is the main preservative in the jam – sugar allows the jam to boil at a higher level (more like 220ºF instead of 212ºF) and kills bacteria. So, if you want to substitute Splenda, you would need to add some no-sugar pectin OR simply cook the fruit down a lot more until it starts to thicken on its own due to evaporation. Then, stir in your Splenda to sweeten it and jar it right away. It won’t keep as long as sugar jam, so only make as much as you need.

    1. You could try to make freezer jam from this recipe, but it might not be as sweet as you would like it to be. Freezer jams don’t cook the fruit and sugar for very long and as a result there is very little evaporation and hence less concentration of flavor. So, if you want to try to make freezer jam, add more sugar to the recipe. You could also just make this jam and if you don’t want to can it, store it in the freezer for up to a year.

    1. Hi Kathleen. Yes – you can absolutely make this with just rhubarb. Just replace the strawberry quantity with the same quantity of rhubarb and off you go!


  3. Hi Meredith,

    I just made this last night! Delicious!! We have a beautiful crop of both red and green rhubarb ready to be picked. I bought some strawberries and spent quality time with myself in my kitchen making a batch of this jam. My family will really enjoy this treat when they return from fishing up north. This is my first time making rhubarb jam, and this recipe is a keeper/winner!! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Karen
    Albany, WI

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