Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Confiture de Rhubarbe

And here you thought, ingenuously, that a bunch of rhubarb was just a bunch of rhubarb.

But no. A bunch of rhubarb, or any other delightful but fleetingly seasonal fruit, is in fact a test that life puts before you. Think Cosmopolitan meets Jean de la Fontaine : are you a grasshopper or an ant?

The grasshopper will enjoy the rhubarb now, and make a compote, a cake, a crumble, a tart, a pie, a buckle, a grunt, a cobbler, or hey, maybe even a slump.

The ant, however, will be good, will be wise ; the ant will show foresight and will prepare for the winter months. The ant will make jam.

Although I would love to claim that I am a grasshopper — much more glamorous, no? — our brimming kitchen cabinets certainly state otherwise. I will settle for a cross between grasshopper and ant, if such a thing is even possible, DNA-wise.

In any case it is the ant in me who decided to use the rhubarb and lemon I had in the fridge to whip up some Confiture de Rhubarbe, following yet another recipe in Christine Ferber’s trusted little book “Mes Confitures”. Organic rhubarb jam at that, since the rhubarb and lemon came from my Campanier basket.

No tasting notes as of yet : jam should be kept in a dark and preferably gloomy place for a few months, it builds character. But what I can already tell you is that it looks lovely, with its shades of baby pink and pistachio green. As you can see on the pic above, the rhubarb pieces all bobbed up to the surface of the syrup, which would probably put Christine to shame and make the jars unfit for sale in an upscale gourmet store, but guess what, that is not quite the destiny I had in mind for them.

I three-quartered the recipe below to adjust it to the amount of rhubarb I had, and was delighted to see that I had very precisely enough to fill three Bonne Maman jars. Not a drop more, not one less.

And this, of course, makes my inner ant very happy.

Confiture de Rhubarbe

– 1.2 kg rhubarb (1 kg when trimmed)
– 800 g sugar
– the juice of a lemon

(Makes 4 jars if you’re using the Bonne Maman size)

Rinse the rhubarb, trim the ends, halve the stalks lengthwise and dice. Christine notes that she likes to use young and slender green stalks, and doesn’t peel them, to keep the rhubarb chunks whole.

Combine the rhubarb pieces, the sugar and the lemon juice in a ceramic or glass dish, cover with parchment paper, and let rest overnight.

In the morning, the sugar will have drained the juice out of the rhubarb. Put a saucer in the freezer. Wash the glass jars and their lids carefully, then soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and set them out to dry upside down on a clean kitchen towel.

Pour the rhubarb mixture through a sieve. Bring the syrup you’ve gathered to a boil, cover and let it boil for five to ten minutes. The goal temperature, if you have a candy thermometer, is 110°C (230°F).

Add in the rhubarb, bring back to a boil and let simmer for five to ten more minutes, stirring gently from time to time.

Take the saucer out of the freezer, and put a drop of jam on it. Tilt the saucer, and see if the jam is set. If not, let it boil for another minute, then test again until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

Pour the jam into the jars until they are full, wipe carefully if there was any spillage and close the lids tightly. Let cool to room temperature upside-down on the counter, then store in a cool and dark place for a few months.

Important disclaimer! This jarring method (boiling the jars then closing them tightly and letting them cool upside down) is one that’s been commonly practiced in France for generations and generations. However, using a sterilizing machine and rubber-lidded jars is the only way to be absolutely safe. For more information on home-canning, click here.

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  • http://www.banlieusardises.com Martine la banlieusarde

    Jamais recette de rhubarbe n’a été racontée avec autant de panache, j’en suis sûre. Thanks for a pleasing morning read!

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg in Paris

    Clotilde, what a clever idea to use a saucer from the fridge to see how it is setting – I’ve never heard of that! Do you put wax on top of your jam, or just put them in the Bonne Maman jars with no sealant?

  • http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net/blog/ Angela

    This looks fantastic Clotilde! I’m a huge fan of rhubarb jam (in particular, rhubarb and ginger) but I’ve never tried making it myself. Do let us know how it tastes when you try it.

    I’m not sure that I’m a pure grasshopper though!! I’m eagerly awaiting strawberry season so that I can make some liqueur and also a few pots of jam :)

  • http://www.thepassionatecook.com johanna

    hi clotilde, i seem to be a bit of both – wonder what a cross between an ant and a grasshopper would look like, probably not very attractive! I have recently posted a recipe for rhubarb and raspberry jam on my own foodblog, if you want to have a look (www.thepassionatecook.com). As I will be getting about 20kg of organic rhubarb out of a friends garden soon, I will be trying yours for sure!
    greetings from london

  • Julie

    I suppose I tend more toward the combination ant/grasshopper — my ant side comes out more strongly when I actually have something in quantity. When I have only precious, small amounts, I suppose I go for more immediate gratification.

    When I was a child, we lived in a house that had a Montmorency cherry tree — the very bright red sour cherries. We made pies (some of which we froze, like good ants), cherries in syrup, and our own cherry preserves, since we had all that bounty…sigh…now if I’m lucky, I’ll sometimes find that same sort of cherry at the farmer’s market for a week or so at the end of June. But they are usually so costly that buying enough to make preserves is prohibitive!

  • John Chypre

    Clotilde, I ordered two books you mentioned: Mes confitures and Soupes du jour from Librairie-gourmand (rue Dante) and arranged a gift certificate for you. Amy Prevost will email you when it’s set. I want to contribute to you and C&Z. In the future I’ll use your Amazon wish list or Paypal, but this seemed efficient because I can also support Amy. My rhubarb is almost ready so when Mes confitures arrives I’ll be ready.

  • http://perso.wanadoo.fr/ethan.gilsdorf/parispostcard.html isabelle

    hi clotilde!

    just wondering, are there any recipes or discussions in the jam book about making jam with less sugar?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Martine – Merci beaucoup pour ce joli compliment!

    Meg – No, no wax, I just close the lids tightly while still warm, and hope for the best! My mom tells me that the amount of sugar preserves the fruit…

    Angela – I’ve never tried the rhubarb ginger combo, it must be really nice. Christine’s book includes a Rhubarbe, Abricot et Gingembre jam, I think.

    Johanna – Congrats on starting your own blog! I’ve added it to my list…

    Julie – Those cherry concoctions sound luscious. Some people think it strange to *buy* fruit to make jam, as it was originally just a way to preserve fruit that would otherwise rot, uneaten — but us city kids, deprived of any garden or orchard, have to make do with what’s in store!

    John – Oh wow, thank you *very* much, what a kind and thoughtful thing to do, I’m delighted! I’ll let you know when Amy gets in touch with me. And I hope you enjoy the books you’ve ordered — actually, I’m sure you will!

    Isabelle – No, I don’t think there is. Christine Ferber’s recipes are very much about making jam the traditional way, and that involves putting in all that sugar to preserve the fruit even at room temperature. Also, I’ve learned at the Salon Saveurs (at the stand where you bought the little babas) that anything with less than 60% sugar can’t be called “confiture”. More info here : http://www.roumaniere.com/fr/dtsf.html

  • Kris Hasson-Jones

    My family’s rhubarb conserve includes orange zest and walnuts.

    • sue

      have you tried glucose instead of sugar or fructose.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kris – That sounds lovely. Do you have a recipe to share by any chance?

  • Donna

    I will definetly try this. I have just moved recently and have found a nice little patch of rhubarb.

  • Linda

    I enjoyed your site. It’s always fun finding someplace new to visit.
    I am passing along a great site about rhubarb. It will tell you all you need to know about rhubarb and more with some good looking recipes. http://www.rhubarbinfo.com
    Linda

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Donna – Lucky you! It is my dream to someday have a garden and grow rhubarb in it!

    Linda – That website looks like a well of info, thanks for passing it along.

  • Kris Hasson-Jones

    I looked; there’s no real recipe. Take equal volumes of rhubarb (about 1/4 inch slices) and sugar; grind up an entire orange; boil together, stir in chopped walnuts. Pour into jelly jars.

    It’s heavenly. I adore it.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kris – Thanks a lot for the recipe guidelines, it does sound like a great pairing.

  • Kate Anne

    Miyagi made me into The Grasshopper I am today…or perhaps it was my father’s ‘variations on the theme’ of cumquat jam that ensures I dare not tip my hand to the fine art of jam-making.

    Is there a way of making jam without permanently embedding the smell in the walls?

  • Jen

    Sadly I failed with this recipe. It took more than 20 minutes to reach 110 degrees then all the rhubarb broke up, then the jam caught on the bottom of the pan before a set was achieved. I believe my hob is not fast enough (electric) though I just can’t stop trying and have a cupboard full of various types of jams and chutneys which set (eventually).

  • Gwyn Lyon

    was so happy to read the rhubarb recipes. I’ve been making rhubard-ginger jam forever (and I’m a very senior person!) –used my mother’s recipe – 3 cups sugar to 4 cups of fruit – cooking ’til 220 degrees – the fruit is all mashed, and the ginger gives it a lovely brown color – sometimes I add raisins. My family loves the results.

  • San

    I have an important question about the harvesting of the rhubarb plant. Can I cut and use the stalks of the rhubarb if the plant is flowering? Are the leaves the only part of this plant that is poisonous or the entire plant is dangerous because it is seeding?

  • Jim Moon

    Rhubarb must be the perfect plant! Tart & sweet, a wide variety of uses, and virtually indestructible to boot. Everything else in my yard dies, but the rhubarb comes back every year – bigger & better. And it’s not so seasonal as people think – I just harvested some for jam in mid september. (BTW-in answer to the harvesting question-if you let your plants go to seed the fruit is still edible. But you’ll get less and what you get won’t be as good: tougher and less flavorful.) I’ve got just enough still growing for some preserves and, if I’m lucky, maybe enough to try the rhubarb-ginger jam.
    This is my first foray into preserving. When I looked out my back window a few days ago and saw what I knew would be the last bunch until spring, my inherent ant nature kicked in. I thought about how good a rhubarb meringue would taste in December. I thought about pirozhki with reven in February. I knew I had to act.

  • Ray Gossen

    Again, I’m years late with my comments, but I’m wondering:

    a) if it’s really necessary to age rhubarb jam. My mother, who I listen to on everything, says she never heard of such a thing.

    b) how your recipe turned out. You must have eaten the jam by now. I’ve just put up a batch following your recipe (actually I made three batches: one following your recipe, one using strawberries and rhubarb, and one with strawberries, rhubarb, and a little ginger.

    Related to a), I think your inner grasshopper must have been very disappointed at your recipe exactly filling three jars. If you’d had a bit more, you could have used it right away, and previewed the future results, kind of like with Beaujolais Nouveau.

    Anyway, I did lick the spoon, and the early results are very, very positive. I’ll know even more the day after tomorrow (I have to wait until then, since I don’t have any fresh bread, and won’t until then, and I don’t want the first taste of my new jam to be on two-day-old bread!).

  • http://www.tramadolmedicine.com tramadol

    I just harvested some for jam in mid september. (BTW-in answer to the harvesting question-if you let your plants go to seed the fruit is still edible. But you’ll get less and what you get won’t be as good: tougher and less flavorful.)

  • http://www.purchasetramadol.org/ purchase tramadol

    I have an important question about the harvesting of the rhubarb plant. Can I cut and use the stalks of the rhubarb if the plant is flowering? Are the leaves the only part of this plant that is poisonous or the entire plant is dangerous because it is seeding?

  • http://www.cheapsoma.net cheap soma

    was so happy to read the rhubarb recipes. I’ve been making rhubard-ginger jam forever (and I’m a very senior person!) –used my mother’s recipe – 3 cups sugar to 4 cups of fruit – cooking ’til 220 degrees – the fruit is all mashed, and the ginger gives it a lovely brown color – sometimes I add raisins. My family loves the results.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m sure you know this… letting the finished jam sit for a few minutes before spooning it into the jars makes the fruit less likely to float to the top. Thank you for the recipe. Rhubarb is one of my favorite things, and this recipe highlights the flavor well.

  • Kova

    Hi Clotilde! I am so glad I found this recipe because I had no time to make a dessert with the rhubarb before IT would go bad. The jam is fantastic! I just placed the glass jar in boiling water as well… which has worked fine for the last couple weeks.

  • http://www.fotolog.com/tramadol_hcl/about tramadol

    I just harvested some for jam in mid september. (BTW-in answer to the harvesting question-if you let your plants go to seed the fruit is still edible. But you’ll get less and what you get won’t be as good: tougher and less flavorful.)

  • http://firefliesofhope.com Gwendolyn

    I once made a batch of “Blubarb” jam ~ blueberry/rhubarb. I don’t know how the blueberries and rhubarb were ripe at the same time, though. Maybe I used frozen blueberries. Anyway, it was really delicious.

  • Christine

    Yummy!! I just made this. I don’t have a thermometer, so I just went the full 10 minutes with the syrup, and then 10 minutes with the whole shebang. It didn’t seem to be gelling and then my saucer was no longer cold enough to tell, so when it started getting really thick around 14 minutes in, I just canned it. I added a little bit of chopped up crystallized ginger, which gives it a nice but subtle zing.

    It looks nothing like yours…it’s way more jammy. I have no idea how you got it to be so clear!! But it tastes amazing. Thank you!

  • http://mybankruptcyadvice.webs.com/unemploymentandbankruptcy San Antonio Lawyers

    I just had to buy some rhubarb at the farmers market this week. It was so pink and shiny! Before today, I had never used it, so luckily I stumbled across this site as I googled rhubarb recipes.

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