Make homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from fresh rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and lemon without pectin!
If you've ever made a homemade strawberry jam recipe, adding rhubarb enhances both the flavor and texture! You can easily store it in your refrigerator or freezer, or can it in a water bath to last all year long!
Why this recipe works:
You will see that this recipe is not only incredibly simple with only four ingredients, but it is extremely easy to make.
Strawberry and rhubarb are so amazing together. The combination is perfectly sweet and tart all at the same time.
The jam tastes great on toast, oatmeal, or ice cream.
Also, if you want to make a big batch, you can easily turn it into freezer jam or preserve it in a mason jar using a simple water bath canning set up for longer storage.
Here's how to make it:
- Slice your rhubarb into small chunks (photo 1) and be sure to discard the tops. Likewise, prepare your strawberries by washing them and removing the stems (photo 2).
- Combine the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan (photo 3). Turn the heat to medium and when the mixture starts to bubble (photo 4), reduce the heat to low.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the jam thickens (photo 5). It can take around an hour to fully breakdown and thicken. You'll want the mixture to reach at least 205 degrees F.
- I like to store my jam in mason jars (photo 6). Refrigerate if you'll eat within a week, otherwise store or water bath can it.
- The quality of the jam will depend on the quality of the fruit. I used the best possible strawberries in the world - Oregon Hood strawberries. Try to find fresh rhubarb that is deep red on the outside with thick firm stalks.
- If your strawberries aren't sweet, you may need to increase the amount of sugar in your recipe to compensate.
- I recommend using fresh squeeze lemon juice although you could substitute with bottled.
Reasons to add rhubarb to your strawberry jam recipe:
I actually use more than twice the amount of rhubarb in this recipe than I do strawberries.
I do this for a few reasons.
- First, rhubarb is much cheaper than strawberries (at least mine was).
- Second, if you're not going to use pectin, you need a lot of sugar in order to get your jam to gel up. Strawberries are already incredibly sweet, so the addition of a ton of sugar is just nauseating. Rhubarb, however, is incredibly tart, so the addition of sugar makes everything right in the world.
I saw a lot of recipes online that called for a heck of a lot more sugar than I used and let me tell you - if you're using good quality sweet strawberries, I wouldn't put any more sugar than what my recipe calls for. The balance was perfect as was the final consistency.
How much does this recipe make?
As written, this recipe makes about 4 cups of homemade jam.
As much pleasure as I would have taken in devouring all four cups with a spoon and some crusty white bread, I decided to can four jars of this liquid gold for the winter months when I'm craving the summer bounty that had long since come and gone. I did, however, get enough extra to fill this little dish which made for some incredibly tasty treats.
If you don't want to can the jam, it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, but let's face it - canning is fun! So preserve it!
Can you use frozen strawberries?
Absolutely. My preference is always to make things seasonally when produce is fresh, but since both the strawberries and rhubarb are both cooked down, it makes no difference at all - zero, zilch, nada - whether you use fresh or frozen fruit.
Finding frozen rhubarb at the store, well, that's a challenge in and of itself.
My advice to each and every one of you is to buy as much rhubarb from the farmers' market when it's in season as your freezer can hold and freeze it yourself.
The reason for adding lemon juice when making jam:
Besides that glorious citrus flavor lemon adds, you need it in your recipe when making homemade jam, including this strawberry rhubarb version.
There's a little food science involved in understanding the importance of adding lemon.
In a nutshell, when you cook down fruit like strawberries and rhubarb with sugar, the natural pectin in the fruit breaks down, but that pectin won't bind together because the individual cells actually repel one another.
We all know lemon juice is acidic, which means it has a lower pH. When lowering the pH of your mixture, it neutralizes the negative charges on the pectin (the thing that made the cells repel), and then the jam can come together and gel.
What do you know? That chemical engineering degree of mine wasn't a total waste after all!
If you love the mouthwatering combination of strawberry and rhubarb, you'll love these!
- Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade - This perfectly sweet and equally tart fresh squeezed Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade is the ultimate kid friendly summer drink and will quench any thirst.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - There are few pies better than a mouthwatering, sweet yet tart, flaky crusted, warm Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Oh yeah.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins - Indulge in this naughty summer treat. Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins are made with fresh strawberries and tart rhubarb wrapped in a brown sugar batter.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp - The fruit filling tastes like it's topped with a warm oatmeal cookie.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler - I took my super simple cobbler recipe and used a fresh strawberry rhubarb filling. Oh my!
Step-by-step recipe video below:
Did you make this recipe? Please leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
RECIPE VIDEO WILL AUTOPLAY
- 5 cups rhubarb (about 3 large stalks, cut into 1⁄2" cubes)
- 2 cups hulled and halved strawberries (about 1 pint)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about half of a large lemon)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Once mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium low. You'll want the heat set to the point where it continues to bubble but not violently when stirred (you'll understand once you start cooking if jam bubbles start to pop out of the center of the pot). Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the jam has thickened. Plan on cooking jam for about an hour and temperature of the mixture is over 205 degrees F.
- While the jam is cooking, sterilize four 1-cup jelly glass jars plus their rings and lids. I do this by boiling them in water for 10 minutes or I boil the lids and run the rings and glass jars through the dishwasher.
- Transfer sterilized jars, lids, and bands to a clean dish towel.
- Have a very large covered pot of boiling water ready. There needs to be enough water in the pot so that when the filled jars are submerged, they're covered by at least 1" of water.
- Fill each jar with hot jam, leaving at least 1⁄4" of space at the top. Place lids on jars, and secure ring bands. Secure just tight enough so that they are hand tightened but you can easily unscrew.
- Transfer filled jars to pot of gently boiling water and let boil for 10 minutes. Transfer jars, set at least 1" apart, to a dish towel and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. You should hear the seals on the lids pop pretty soon after removing from the water.
- If any jar is not fully sealed, or you chose to skip the canning process, jam should be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. Sealed jars will keep, in a cool, dark place, for up to a year.
This post was originally created in May 2016 and has been updated with process photos, helpful information, and cooking tips. Don't worry - I didn't change the recipe!