“Thanks for a beautiful rhubarb jelly recipe! I just wanted you to know that I made this for my local county fair & it won BOTH 1st Place and Best of Show! It is delicious!” ~Melissa
rhubarb jelly is a fun (and easy!) project
Jelly making is one of my most favorite things to do in the kitchen. I never get tired of the magical transformation of fresh juice into a sparkling jelly. Part of the fun is dreaming up new recipes since almost any fruit or vegetable can be jellied ~ and it’s especially satisfying when things turn out vibrant and bursting with flavor like this one. Rhubarb is ideal for jelly making because it has a super tart flavor to begin with and can handle all the extra sugar.
what you’ll need to make rhubarb jelly
- fresh rhubarb stalks, thick or thin, and any color
- a high speed blender like Vitamix, or a food processor
- a muslin jelly or nut milk bag. If you like to make jellies it pays to get an inexpensive jelly strainer, pictured below to make the process easy and hands free.
- A large saucepan, stainless steel is best.
- If you want to can your jelly you’ll need a water bath canner or a deep cooking pot with a rack that fits in the bottom. Be sure the pot has a close-fitting lid. Alternatively you can skip the canning and freeze your jelly for longer storage.
where to find rhubarb
If you’ve got rhubarb growing in your yard this is an ideal project. Rhubarb has a relatively short season, but backyard rhubarb can keep producing right through the summer. It’s available in the produce section of many stores from about April through the end of summer. Consider freezing it for later use, just wash and dry the stalks, then slice. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid, then fill heavy duty freezer bags and force out any excess air before sealing.
I love to fill small Weck canning jars with rhubarb jelly
They’d make beautiful and unexpected gifts for the holidays down the road. And the jar is just as pretty as the jelly!
does the color of rhubarb affect its flavor?
Rhubarb comes in many shades, from palest green to deep crimson, but the flavor will be consistent, so no worries. Your jelly will vary in color depending on your rhubarb, but it will definitely be pretty in any event 🙂 The vanilla beans add a subtle depth to the flavor.
This could make the best pb& j sandwich of your life! Actually I made mine an almond butter and rhubarb jelly sandwich, even better 🙂
Jelly making basics
- Jelly is made by cooking fruit juice with sugar, and adding pectin.
- Pectin is added to create the gelled consistency.
- Sugar also helps the gelling process.
- If you’re planning to can your jelly it’s important to follow a trusted recipe exactly, any changes can affect the safety of the finished product.
- If you’d like to play with a recipe, consider making a small batch and keeping it in the refrigerator or freezing it for longer storage.
How to can jellies
- To can your homemade jelly, ladle or pour the boiling liquid directly into your hot sterilized canning jars, and be sure to leave 1/4 free space at the top. Wipe down the rims of the jars, and close up your jars securely but not super tightly.
- Place on a rack in a canner filled with boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least one inch. Cover the canner.
- Bring the water back to a boil; boil gently for the number of minutes specified in your recipe. Add 1 minute of processing and sterilizing time for each 1000 feet of additional altitude.
- Remove the jars to a protected surface and cool, away from drafts, undisturbed for 12 hours.
About sugar and canning
- This recipe contains a lot of sugar, although it’s not sweeter than other jellies I’ve had. I used a classic, tried and true recipe because when it comes to canning, it’s not advisable to play around with proportions if you want to have a safe product.
- However there has been new research that proves that sugar does not play a role in canning safety, as has been previously believed.
- Sugar does play a roll in helping a jam or jelly ‘gel’, so if you want to reduce the sugar you’ll need to use a “no or low sugar’ pectin, like this one. I’ve used this for many of my lower sugar recipes and it works great. Note that you should not try to develop your own canning recipe for safety reasons. If you want to play, plan to refrigerate or freeze your recipes.
- 2 1/2 lbs rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 6 ounces liquid pectin
- Puree the rhubarb in your Vitamix blender or food processor, along with the water to get it started. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
- Put the rhubarb puree into a clean jelly or nut bag, and let it hang over a large bowl to allow the juice to drip out. Don’t press or squeeze the bag aggressively or the pulp may come through and this will make your jelly cloudy. I do squeeze it a little bit, though, to move it along. It can help to have a jelly strainer, which is made for this purpose. You want to end up with 3 1/2 cups liquid.
- Put the rhubarb juice in a large stainless steel pot or saucepan. Stir in the sugar, the lemon juice, and the vanilla bean seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring almost constantly.
- Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boil, let it fully boil for 3 minutes. It may foam up so stay right by it. Stirring is ok.
- After 3 minutes, stir in the pectin, and bring it back to a full, rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Again it may foam up so be careful.
- Take the jelly off the heat and skim off any foam that is on the surface. Fill your sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top.
If you are canning
- Wipe down the rims of the jars to remove any spilled jelly, then attach the lids and screw them, but don’t over-tighten.
- Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
If you aren’t canning
- Let cool and then cap and refrigerate.
If you want to use powdered pectin ~
- Use 4 tablespoons of powdered pectin in place of the 2 pouches of liquid. Instead of adding the pectin at the end, you can whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar before you combine it with the juice.
Questions and Reviews
My rhubarb is growing like crazy this season. Looking forward to trying this jelly. Instead of vanilla bean seeds, could I add vanilla extract? If so, any idea how much to try? Thanks.
Can I use frozen rhubarb instead of fresh. If so would I just weigh the rhubarb cut it up and freeze? It looks so delish! Also could I use a very small amount of Wilton cake decorating food colouring paste to give it a nice pink colour? Want to do it for a bazaar.
You can use frozen rhubarb, no problem. You can definitely use food coloring if your rhubarb is not pink, just go easy on it. Start with a tiny pin-prick size and go up from there.
This sounds delicious! Will make it soon, Do you think using vanilla bean paste as an alternate to the bean seeds will affect the flavor at all?
No, that will totally work. Vanilla beans are ridiculously expensive these days.
What else can you use if you don’t have a jelly bag or nut bag?
You can use a couple of layers of cheesecloth. You need something with a fine mesh, either cotton or nylon. I’ve heard that people use coffee filters, or you might try a single layer of muslin cloth.
I did it!!! The flavor is great (that’s just tasting the foam LOL) and it is so pretty!!! I did not add the vanilla bean until I skimmed all the foam off and then whiled it in as best I could. Thanks for the idea Claudia Swarthout! I was very happy with it. Since reading the feedback I DID use 2 vanilla beans and it looks just like the authors photo. Thank you so much for the recipe Stacey!!
I was shocked to find that one package containing two 3oz pouches of liquid pectin cost $8 at my local grocery. Grateful that the rhubarb is “free”, so will definitely be trying this gorgeous looking recipe!
You are so right! Now my problem is, the rhubarb is so juicy this year I ended up with 4 cups of juice and I cut back on the water the last blend. Should I adjust anything at this point? Sorry to be a pain.
No, no adjustments necessary I don’t think.
This looks amazing! How much vanilla bean paste should be used as a substitute in this recipe?
I’d use a tablespoon.
Have you ever juiced the rhubarb with a steam juicer?
No, but that should work fine.