This homemade strawberry rhubarb jam elevates the timeless classic with a hint of ginger and lime, made one small batch at a time. Starting with fresh strawberries, rhubarb, ginger, and lime, we add in just enough granulated sugar to create a delicious spoonable homemade jam without added pectin. Serve it with biscuits, slather it on toast, or serve it with your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Homemade Small Batch Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Strawberry rhubarb is an iconic flavor combination that pretty much defined the summertimes of my childhood. Growing up we’d spend the July Fourth holiday at my grandparents’ house, where my grandmother would make my mom a strawberry rhubarb birthday pie.
That’s right, my mom would pass over birthday cake for strawberry rhubarb pie. Grandma’s recipe was simple and delicious: strawberries and rhubarb with sugar, tucked inside this homemade pie crust.
While it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of grandma’s strawberry rhubarb pies, that flavor combination is the inspiration for this strawberry rhubarb jam and one of my favorite ways to celebrate strawberry season.
It’s shockingly simple to make, takes less time than you’d expect, and tastes so much better than store bought. It’s the perfectly sweet summer treat you didn’t know you were missing.
What You’ll Need
Like my small batch blueberry jam, there are three necessary components for this strawberry rhubarb jam: fruit (and in this case vegetables), sugar, and acid. Each of these ingredients is important in the chemistry of getting your jam to set.
- Strawberries – Fresh from the garden or bought from a store, the strawberries add lots of flavor, color, natural sweetness, and bulk to your jam. Fresh or frozen strawberries will work.
- Rhubarb – Tart rhubarb balances against the sweetness of the strawberries and the necessity of the added sugar. A bit less common than strawberries, rhubarb can be found at your local farmers market or grocery store in the summertime. If looking for it out of season, look for frozen rhubarb.
- Ginger – Adds an earthy spicy note to your jam, giving it a unique flavor profile.
- Granulated Sugar – Contributes sweetness and structure to the recipe. If you reduce or omit, your jam may not set up correctly. This recipe call for less sugar than most store bought jam.
- Lime Juice – An alternative to the more common lemon juice, lime juice adds natural pectin which helps your jam to thicken and stabilize with a tangy touch.
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How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Making homemade jam requires a little bit of elbow grease and a little bit of science. The sugar combines with the water in the fruit/vegetables which helps to create the syrupy consistency. The heat helps to release the naturally occurring pectin from the lime, which is activated by the acid. From there it just takes a bit of time for the water to evaporate so that the jam can concentrate and thicken. Here are the steps.
- Prepare the fruit. Remove stems from strawberries and coarsely chop into small chunks. Chop fresh rhubarb into 1/2″ chunks. Grate ginger. Place strawberries, sliced rhubarb, ginger into a large saute pan. Add sugar and lime juice then bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.
- Cook until the jam thickens. As mixture cooks, the full rolling boil will cause it to foam up and then reduce. Stir occasionally to ensure it’s not sticking. If it does stick, reduce the heat. Once the foam begins to subside, start to stirring constantly. Jam will darken in color and take on a thick, syrupy consistency. It’s done when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line down the center of the pan that takes a moment to refill.
- Cool and store. Allow jam to cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer still hot jam to a clean glass jar or storage container. Cool completely at room temperature for about 90 minutes then refrigerate. Chill 6 – 8 hours to let the jam set and thicken completely.
What is Rhubarb?
Let’s start with the basics: Rhubarb is a cultivated plant that has a stalk (like celery) and a large leaf. While the stalks are 100% edible, rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should not be consumed. The stalks can range in color from green to a ruby red and should be firm and glossy.
Depending on where you live, rhubarb can be found from early spring until mid-summer. Here in the pacific northwest we get two harvests of rhubarb a year, both in the early spring and around late June through July.
Technically rhubarb is a vegetable, but most culinary uses pair it with fruit to balance the naturally tart flavor. Berries, like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, make excellent pairings with rhubarb, but strawberry rhubarb is one of the most common combinations.
Tips for Small Batch Jam Success
This yummy jam recipe is fairly simple, but there are always some extra tips that make it easier to get it right on your first try.
- Use a wide shallow pot. It increases the surface area and allows water to evaporate more quickly.
- After you wash the fruit and vegetables, let them dry completely before chopping.
- For chunkier jam, leave your strawberries in larger chunks.
- Slice the rhubarb into strips no wider than 1/2″. It will break down while cooking, but wider strips will result in a stringy jam.
- Finely grate the ginger using a microplane style grater.
- Don’t reduce the sugar, if you do, the jam may not set up.
As homecooks, I know your biggest question is “what can I change without destroying the results?” The good news is that you can change a lot, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up with strawberry rhubarb jam! Here are a few of my favorite swaps for making jam.
- Instead of the lime juice try adding lemon juice. Lemon juice is traditional in strawberry jam and serves the same chemistry purposes, but will taste a little different.
- If you really like the citrus notes, dial them up a notch with a little bit of lime or lemon zest.
- The ginger adds a gentle spice to the jam that really compliments the strawberry. However, it is mainly there for flavor and can be omitted if you prefer.
- If you are making this jam out of strawberry season, opt for frozen fruit.
Enjoy your jam slathered on homemade biscuits, serve it on your next cheese and charcuterie board, use it as a filling for homemade pastries with rough puff pastry, or turn it into a fruit and yogurt parfait with maple hazelnut homemade granola.
If you love strawberry rhubarb jam, you should also check out my Small Batch Blueberry Jam.
Storing Homemade Jam
As written, the recipe makes about one and a half cups jam and can be easily doubled.
Finished jam should be jarred and sealed while hot. Let it cool on the counter until room temperature then refrigerate. Store the jam should in the refrigerator and use it within a week.
For extended shelf life this jam can be canned using sterilized jars and proper canning techniques. It can also be frozen, once it’s been chilled completely in the refrigerator.
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- 8 ounces strawberries
- 8 ounces rhubarb
- 0.5 ounce ginger
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Remove stems from strawberries and coarsely chop. Chop rhubarb into 1/2" chunks. Grate ginger.
- Add strawberries rhubarb, ginger, sugar, and lime juice to a wide, shallow pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- As mixture boils down, it will foam up and reduce. Stir occasionally to ensure it's not sticking. If it does stick, reduce the heat.
- Once the foam begins to subside, begin to stir constantly. Jam will darken in color and take on a thick, syrupy consistency. It's done when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line down the center of the pan that takes a moment to refill.
- Allow jam to cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a clean glass jar or storage container. Cool the jam at room temperature for about 90 minutes before refrigerating. Chill 6 - 8 hours to thicken completely.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 2 TBSP
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 44Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.