Table of Contents
  1. What is jam vs preserves vs jelly?
  2. How is jam thickened?
  3. Watch how to make this rhubarb jam
  4. How to Can Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Spring and summer are the beginning of the canning season. I love preserving and using what is growing in the garden to enjoy throughout the rest of the year.

Much of the tradition of preserving came from a time when families had no option but to use the foods that were in season and find resourceful ways to feed the family during the winter. Preserving in today’s world is mostly for fun, but also for knowing all of the ingredients that go into the recipe.

Rhubarb was, is, and always will be a staple at my house. Most Midwestern farms have large patches of rhubarb and are used to baking with the tart stalks. It’s technically a vegetable, but the tart, almost sour flavor is a fun one to use in jam.

Top down view of chopped rhubarb sitting on wooden board with rhubarb leaf off to the side along with lemon

What is jam vs preserves vs jelly?

Here’s the difference between all these types of fruit spreads:

  • Preserves have large pieces of whole fruit with a thinner consistency.
  • Jelly is simply a thickened fruit juice.
  • Jam is a mix of the two: thickened pulp from the fruit with some pieces.

I often chose jam because it’s all-purpose. I use it in baked goods, frosting, and spread it on toast. I love some pieces of fruit and a naturally thickened spread.

Spoon holding red colored rhubarb jam dripping into jam container

How is jam thickened?

The quick way to thicken jam is to use boxed pectin. The mixture is pretty simple: some fruit and sugar cooked together. Add the box of pectin and it instantly thickens. But I find the end product to be too thick and gloppy.

Instead, this recipe for jam is thickened by removing the fruit from the collected juices while cooking. Once removed, the remaining juices are cooked until they reach 221°F. At that temperature, the added sugar and the fruit juice thicken up to the perfect consistency. No boxed pectin needed!

The result is a rhubarb-forward jam with just enough tartness to balance out the sweet!

Top down view of copper jam pan filled with chopped raw rhubarb with sugar sprinkled on top

Watch how to make this rhubarb jam

YouTube video
Glass pint jars filled with red colored rhubarb jam sitting on drying clothing all on white countertop

How to Can Rhubarb Jam

4.80 from 20 votes
Made with a few fresh ingredients, including citrus and fruit, this rhubarb jam is the essence of spring! To make it last longer, a quick water bath on the stove is super simple!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Canning Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 112 tbsp


  • 4 lb rhubarb
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tsp orange zest
  • cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • red gel coloring


  • In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, orange zest, lemon juice, and orange juice. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Keep at a low boil, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and strain the juice. Reserve the rhubarb. Return the strained juice to the stockpot and cook until the temperature reaches 221°F.
  • Once at the correct temperature, add the reserved rhubarb back to the juice and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes just to heat the rhubarb.
  • For canning: Immediately pour the hot jam into warm sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth and add the lids and rings according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Boil in a water bath: 10 minutes for 8 oz jam jars and 15 minutes for pint jars. Remove from the water bath and cool on a rack for 24 hours before removing rings. Store for up to one year.


Serving: 1tbspCalories: 24kcalCarbohydrates: 6.1gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0.7mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 5.5gVitamin A: 0.8IUVitamin C: 1.5mgCalcium: 14.2mgIron: 0mg
Course Preserving
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Canning

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. This looks so good! I make jam every year but never do a water bath and all my jars seal and never had any spoil. Can I skip the water bath with this recipe??

  2. Does the water in the water bath need to be over the top of the jars or just to the same level as the jam is in the jar?

    Growing up, my dad would plant a little plot of rhubarb in our backyard. He would make pies with it. I always thought it too tart and would want milk or ice cream over my pie. He was always mortified when I did that.

  3. 5 stars
    I just finished putting up 7 jars of this jam it is so good. The only adjustment I had to make was using tangerines instead of the orange as that is what I had. This will now be in my yearly rotation. First one of your recipes I have tried will definitely try more.

  4. 5 stars
    Just made this jam this morning! My first crop of rhubarb for the season. Made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, then the jam. Awesome! I couldn’t resist adding ginger to the batch. Thank you for sharing. This will be my go to recipe every spring now for Rhubarb Jam!

  5. 5 stars
    I live in Texas. How come people in Texas don’t make things with rhubarb? Is it because of our soil or cold winters that we have? I’ve seen rhubarb a few times in the grocery store, but only once did I buy some for a strawberry rhubarb pie. It took me a while to make it. Then, I saw a Strawberry Rhubarb pie in the bakery at Albertsons. It was as good as my homemade pie. I decided to buy one instead of spending all afternoon in the kitchen.

    1. 5 stars
      I’m originally from the north where rhubarb grows wild. I cannot grow in Tennessee because our winters don’t get cold enough, probably same issue in Texas. Rhubarb needs hard freeze.

  6. I made 2 batches of this jam using rhubarb I grow in the NC mountains. Simply divine!! Perfect combination of tart and sweet with the citrus. This will be my go to recipe from now on! Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. I follow you all the time and love your content. Just tried the rhubarb jam. Amazingly delicious !

  8. I made this recipe today with rhubard given to me by a friend. This was so easy to make and so yummy with the citrus added. This is my new favorite jam recipe. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy watching your videos and have made many of your recipes.

  9. Hello,
    I’m wanting to try this recipe but I’m not clear on how many jars I need…I may have overlooked it, but am not seeing it. Please let me know.
    Thanks, chat

    1. 112 Tablespoons which is 7 cups, but it looks like you can change the serving size online up to 200 tablespoons which is 12-1/2 cups.