Strawberries and rhubarb are not just for pie, they’re great made into jam. You’ll love the sweetness of the strawberries with the tart rhubarb and no pectin required! Strawberry rhubarb jam is so much easier to make than you might think and it’s great on biscuits or toast.
The farmers are saying that we’re going to have the longest strawberry season in history this year, which means there’s no excuse not to make some strawberry rhubarb jam! I hope it’s the same where you are. While I can eat a gallon of strawberries all by themselves, I love the flavor that rhubarb adds when combined.
If you’re as excited as I am about strawberries, then be sure to check out these tips to keeping strawberries fresh longer so you don’t miss out on one fresh berry!
Since rhubarb and strawberries are both around in the Spring, it just makes sense to eat them together and what better way to preserve those wonderful flavors than in jam that you can enjoy all year long.
Why you’ll love homemade jam
- Just 4 ingredients required and it comes together so easily.
- Making your own jam allows you to create the flavor that you like the most.
- You can control the amount of sugar, the jars at the grocery are sooo sweet, and I would rather taste fruit than sugar.
- Homemade jam tastes so much better than what you will find in the grocery because you’ll use the sweetest strawberries.
Have you ever tried making jam? I used to help my mom and grandmother make apricot and peach jam when I was a kid but I’ve never tackled it on my own and they never made strawberry jam.
So with some guidance from my mother-in-law, who has made lots of strawberry jam, I gave it a try. I wanted to avoid using pectin, she said she never used it in her jams either. So I felt that I could get a good consistency without it.
In the Carolinas, it’s very difficult to find local rhubarb. The reason is that rhubarb is a perennial that grows mostly in the North because temperatures need to be below 40º in the winter and around 75º in the summer.
Around here it rarely gets below 75º in the summer. If you’re in an area that grows rhubarb, you might find these tips helpful if you want to grow some in your backyard.
Apparently, you can still grow rhubarb in the South if you treat it as an annual. Plant it in the fall and it should come up in the Spring. I have to rely on Whole Foods, where I can normally find some great looking rhubarb in the Spring.
Do you need pectin to make jam?
Pectin occurs naturally in fruit and it’s what makes the fruit jell. Some fruits like apples and lemons are high in pectin which is why you want to add lemon juice to strawberry jam. Both strawberries and rhubarb are not high in pectin. Commercially made pectin like Sure Jell can be used but lemon juice will give you a more vibrant flavor.
What you’ll need
- Strawberries – while you want sweet ripe strawberries for the best flavor, try to use about a quarter of strawberries that are less ripe. The riper the fruit, the less the pectin.
- Rhubarb – Try to find crisp stalks, the color doesn’t make any difference in whether it’s ripe or not.
- Sugar – I start with two cups and add more if the strawberries are not sweet.
- Lemon juice – use fresh if you have it. But if you only have the bottle kind, it’ll still work fine. Just add about a tablespoon.
How to make strawberry rhubarb jam
Cut up the berries and rhubarb, add sugar and let it sit for an hour. I used an equal amount of strawberry to rhubarb ratio and found that 2 cups of sugar for 2 lbs of fruit resulted in the perfect sweetness for me. However, if you like sweeter jam, most recipes call for an equal weight of fruit to sugar.
Place the fruit mixture in a saucepan, add lemon juice and cook it on high until it starts to thicken. You might think it will never thicken but give it about 10 minutes or so and it will start to coat a spoon.
PRO TIP: You will a hear the jam sizzle when you drag a wooden spoon through it. When you hear the sizzle you’ll know it’s done. It’s because the jam has reached about 220 degrees, the perfect “set time” for jam. But if you take it off early, it’s no big deal, it will thicken as it cools and it still tastes great regardless of how runny it is. Mine takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how juicy the fruit is.
- Try adding a ½ tsp of vanilla extract to the mix.
- Add ¼ tsp of black pepper to the mix for a deliciously fun kick to the sweetness – you won’t be sorry!
How to can jam
When you start cooking your fruit, turn on the heat for your canning pot, it takes forever to bring that much water to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil add the jars to sterilize them for about 10 minutes. Also sterilize the lids by pouring some of the the boiling water into a small sauce pan, let them dry on a clean towel while the jam is cooking.
Ladle the jam into the jars and wipe off any jam that got on the rim with a wet paper towel. Add the lid and then the rim, tighten slightly and place the jars back in the water bath letting them boil for 10 minutes.
Remove and let them cool. Within just a few minutes you’ll hear the lids pop. Once they are cooled, make sure the lids are sealed by pushing on them. If they indent, then it didn’t seal and you should put that jar in the fridge to eat now. All mine have sealed so far using this techinque.
If you need more details go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Of course you don’t have to can it at all, you can freeze it if you have room in your freezer and it will last a year until next years crop is ready to pick.
How to enjoy strawberry rhubarb jam
I’ve made three batches so far and all taste a bit different even though I used the exact same proportions. The reason is that every batch of strawberries will add a different flavor, some are just going to be sweeter naturally than others.
If you’ve never tried strawberry rhubarb jam you don’t know what you’ve been missing. This is amazing on toast, for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, add to some yogurt, on biscuits, over ice-cream. You can use it as a filling in cake, or filling in a thumbprint cookie or as a pancake topping. I think you get the picture.
Here’s a great tip! Don’t be afraid to try something a little old fashioned; there is nothing like homemade jam and what a great idea to give for gifts at Christmas!
If you don’t have rhubarb, strawberry jam is the best. The recipe is a little different than when adding rhubarb so check it out for some helpful tips.
FAQs and tips
Lemon juice is needed to help the fruit gel.
Rhubarb should be crisp and not limp, the color doesn’t determine it’s ripeness.
To prepare the strawberries, wash them right before using so that they don’t absorb excess water.
Sugar is needed to help the fruit gel so if you reduce it too much it will be runny.
Jam should last about a year in the freezer.
You can make strawberries last for over a week by rinsing them in a vinegar bath. Learn how, it’s easy.
If you love strawberries, here’s some of my favorite strawberry desserts
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe
- 1 lb strawberries diced
- 1 lb rhubarb diced
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Wash fruit. Dice strawberries into quarters. Dice rhubarb into ½ inch slices and place both in a large bowl. Add sugar and gently stir to combine. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Fill canning pot with enough water to cover the jars you are using and let it come to a boil while you are cooking the fruit. This will take 15 minutes or so. When it comes to a boil, add empty jars to sterilize for 10 minutes. Remove and place on a clean towel to dry. For the lids, place some of the boiling water in a small pan and place lids in the hot water. Remove to a clean towel to dry.
- Add fruit to a saucepan at least twice as large as the amount of fruit you have. Add lemon juice and bring to a rapid boil and cook over high heat for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens. It will make a sizzle sound when you pull the fruit away from the edge of the pan when it is done.
- Remove the jam from the heat and using a funnel or a soup ladel and, pour it into the clean jars. Wipe the rims and add the lids and then tighten the rings so that it’s finger tight.
- Place the jars in a rack in the water and boil for 10 minutes. Start the timer when the water starts to boil. Carefully remove the jars to a towel to cool. The lids should make a popping sound as they seal. Once cool, check them to make sure they have sealed. If the lid does not make a noise when you push on it, then they have sealed.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- This will make 4 cups of jam, a serving equals 1 tablespoon.
- If your strawberries are super sweet, start with 1 ½ cups of sugar.
- If possible add some strawberries that are not as ripe.
- When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp stalks, the color doesn’t matter.
- If you don’t want to can it, you can freeze and it will last about a year.