This strawberry rhubarb jam is incredibly easy compared to most homemade jams. It relies on lemons for pectin, vanilla for loveliness, and a simple technique to make a small batch of preserves in just half an hour. And you can stash the jam in the fridge rather than process and can it.
Those familiar with Sarabeth’s strawberry rhubarb jam know well the reassuring sight of those iconic and familiar jars on shelves at specialty grocers. And while there’s always an array of flavors, if you’re anything like us, strawberry rhubarb has always been your favorite. And now you can take comfort knowing that you can make Sarabeth’s very own recipe at home. You’ll be even more tickled to know that it takes a mere half hour to put up a small batch that boasts not just a superbly satiating taste and texture but lord, oh lord, a fragrance that’s intoxicating beyond words.
And it’s a small enough batch that there’s no need to process it for canning; instead you can simply stash it in the fridge with the knowing that it’ll easily disappear before it can possibly go bad. How easy is that? Originally published July 11, 2016.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Makes about 2 half-pint jars
Special Equipment: 2 sterilized half-pint canning jars
- 8 ounces rhubarb, tough strings removed with a vegetable peeler, stalks cut into 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices (1 1/4 cups)
- 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick (1 1/3 cups)
- 1/2 Meyer lemon or 1/4 regular lemon (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams), cut into slices 1/8 inch thick and seeded
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1. In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, bring the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon, and water to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- 2. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar. And then, since strawberries and rhubarb can vary in their sweetness, carefully take a taste and, if desired, add more of the remaining sugar, a little at a time.
- 3. Using the tip of a sharp knife, split the half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the mixture, and then toss in the pod.
- 4. Continue simmering the jam mixture, stirring occasionally, until the preserves are slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. See our What You Need To Know note below on How To Tell When Jam Is Done. Skim and discard any foam that may appear on the surface. Discard the vanilla pod.
- 5. Divide the jam between 2 sterilized half-pint canning jars. Screw on the lids, let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight before diving into it to allow the flavors to meld. It’s worth the wait. You can keep your stash of strawberry rhubarb jam in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
*What You Need To Know: How To Tell When Jam Is Done
- If you’ve yet to make jam, knowing how to tell when a pot of scalding hot fruit that’s burbling like lava is ready to pull from the stovetop may seem a little daunting. But it’s actually ridiculously easy. As our recipe tester Linda McElroy, an experienced home preserver, explains, there are a couple ways to ascertain when you can safely pull the preserves from the heat, or, in home preservers’ parlance, to “check the set.” Here are your options:
- 1. There’s the spoon test. Drag a wooden spoon through the jam. When the spoon parts the preserves like Moses’ staff did the Red Sea and leaves a clean streak on the bottom of the pan, it’s done.
- 2. There’s also the freezer test. Before you begin to make the jam, place a small plate in your freezer. When you think the jam is ready, allow a very small amount of jam to drop from the spoon onto the chilled plate. If the jam mounds and doesn’t spread (or spreads very little) and you can draw your finger or the spoon through it and leave a clean streak on the plate, the jam is ready.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This is an extremely easy way to make a quick batch of strawberry rhubarb jam. I usually feel like I need to devote half a day when I make jam, but this recipe makes 2 small jars. My total time was literally 20 minutes!
I loved the addition of lemon slices, which mostly fell apart, as well as the vanilla bean. This really takes strawberry rhubarb jam to a whole new level. It’s dessert-quality jam!
I admit that I was alarmed when I saw it called for up to 1 1/2 cups sugar. I started with 3/4 cup and then decided that it could use another 2 tablespoons. You could probably go up to 1 cup sugar if you wanted. The jam was slightly tart, but that’s how I like it.
The jam thickened perfectly and was not at all soupy, as is sometimes the case when I reduce the amount of sugar called for in a jam recipe. I used a 12-inch skillet in place of a saucepan so the liquid would evaporate rapidly. After I added the sugar, the jam only took 5 more minutes to thicken. When you drag a wooden spoon through the jam and it parts ways and leaves a clean streak on the bottom of the pan, you know it’s done. But I also did the freezer test to confirm. Place a small plate in your freezer when you begin to make the jam. When you think the jam is ready, drop a very small amount on the chilled plate, if it mounds up and doesn’t spread (very much) and you can draw your finger through it and leave a clean streak, the jam is ready.
You could probably process the jars if you wanted to, but it won’t be hard to go through this small an amount of jam in a couple of weeks. You could always freeze one of the jars.
This recipe takes strawberry rhubarb jam to the next level! I've made strawberry rhubarb jam for years using the standard recipe that comes in the liquid pectin recipe insert and I have always been pleased with the results. This recipe takes things up a few notches. The addition of lemon rind and vanilla give the preserves more texture and depth of flavor.
The jam took 20 minutes cooking to reach the proper consistency and then I stirred the jam for an additional 5 minutes once I took it off the stove to keep the fruit suspended before pouring it into the jars. I tested the set using two ways—checking the temperature was 220°F and putting a spoonful on a cold plate and seeing if it gels. The recipe yielded a full pint of delicious, fresh, vibrant jam.
Total time was 1/2 hour to preserve the taste of spring!
For me the fruit stars in my reduced sugar version of this strawberry and rhubarb jam and I would heartily recommend it.
I made this recipe with 3/4 cup sugar. It simmered for 15 minutes and although not really thick it had thickened enough to be preserves. (I feel preserves should not be really thickly jammy but slightly thickened, however, that's just my opinion.
Rhubarb + strawberries = summer. Even if your rhubarb is not bright red (varieties can be speckled or mostly green), the strawberries will make the result a pretty color with the sum greater than the parts.
For my first batch, I needed 2 good-size stalks rhubarb to get the 1 1/4 cups sliced rhubarb, though my stalks were thickish. I did peel tougher strands away in stripes, and when the rhubarb cooked, it turned to jammy smoothness although the strawberries held a bit of shape. If you had very tender, narrow stalks, I would not remove more than the trimmed ends, no extra peeling required.
I used 3/4 cup sugar and found the result plenty sweet. To check the "set," I looked for a single point where it dripped off the spoon and how it set up on a chilled plate. I error towards fresh flavor rather than a thick and sticky consistency.
Chilling overnight firmed the preserves and intensified the flavors.
These preserves go nicely spread on toast, dolloped into yogurt, or spooned over ice cream. I will even use a spoonful muddled into a long sparkling drink with club soda or gin and tonic.
For small batches such as this that will be eaten soon, I just store the jam in the refrigerator and skip the canning. I would normally divide the vanilla pod in pieces between the jars, a visual reminder of the flavoring, but I obediently removed it (and used it to infuse something else!).
The lemon is nice to include—it integrated well as the slices softened, adding flavor and texture and complementing the vanilla. Half-moon slices would be nice.
My second batch I substituted whole blackberries for the strawberries (227 grams each of the berries and the sliced rhubarb) and I reduced the sugar to 140 grams. The color was gorgeous (even though my rhubarb was mostly green) because the berries dyed the whole batch. That batch yielded almost a pint and a half, which set up thinner—more saucy than jammy—than the strawberry rhubarb jam.
Bright and complex, this tart jam has an addictive vanilla aroma and takes minutes, not hours, to make.The batch size is perfect to serve at breakfast for the few weeks that berries and rhubarb overlap.. just right for when you know other berries will be headed your way in a few weeks.
I used equal weights of rhubarb and strawberries, 8 ounces each, 1/2 a small lemon, and 3/4 cup sugar for a balanced tart-sweet. The vanilla bean seemed skippable but adds a luxurious and unexpected touch; instead of discarding it, I buried it in the jam jar to spoon around until the preserves are gone.