Jun 24 2011

Adventures in Canning: Rhubarb Jam

I fear I may be too late on this post...but I'll share this recipe anyways, in case you spot some rhubarb at the market this weekend.  I've seen a few stalks lying around here and there--at this point in the season they're small and not that appealing looking but I can almost guarantee they'd still make good jam.

We've tackled rhubarb in a number of ways this year, including a few unsuccessful entree attempts.  Unlike the Italians, who seem to enjoy rhubarb in a multiple different entree forms, I prefer adding sugar to balance out the vegetable's tartness.  I wanted to preserve this spring's amazing rhubarb crop, so a few weekends ago we made a huge batch of rhubarb jam.

I was inspired by the rhubarb jam we heaped onto homemade bread during breakfast at Portland's Ace Hotel.  Made by Joshua McFadden of Tender Bar (and formerly of Franny's), its simplicity drew us back for second helpings.  His jam's texture captured rhubarb's strangely appealing stringiness and tasted like pure vegetable with a dab of sweetness.  That's what I was going for with this jam--and what I think I got (though I won't claim that it's as good as McFadden's!)

I've stashed a number of these jars away, so we can enjoy that delicious vegetal taste of rhubarb all summer and fall.  I don't think the jars will last until the winter!

*Before you make this, plan to dedicate at more than one day, as the rhubarb needs to macerate for 24 hours!*

Rhubarb Jam

Recipe Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook


4 lbs trimmed rhubarb, cut into 4 inch lengths

2 3/4 lbs white cane sugar

3 ounces squeezed lemon juice


1) Put the rhubarb pieces into a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over them. Pour the lemon juice over and then cover with plastic wrap or tin foil. Let the rhubarb pieces macerate for 24 hours at room temperature.

2) Transfer the rhubarb to a wide non reactive kettle (we used a stock pot) and stir well. Bring the entire mixture to boil, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. You'll need to stir consistently for the last 10 minutes to ensure that the jam doesn't stick.

3) When the jam has thickened, test for doneness. You can do this using a candy thermometer to test for gel point (220/221) or the freezer spoon test. For the freezer spoon test: stick a spoon in your freezer for a few minutes. Remove the spoon, put a dollop of jam on it, put the spoon back in the freezer and with for several minutes. Take out the spoon and and push on the jam: it should be thick and not runny.

Are you storing it?

Using a stainless steel spoon to transfer the jam into its storage containers. Let cool on the counter before putting into the refrigerator.

Are you canning it?

Ladle into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.