March 24, 2009


Forget about March madness I have been afflicted with Rhubarb Madness. I ordered 15 lbs. from my grocer last week and have done little else but put up rhubarb.The first batch went in the trash; (or to my friends with way sick sweet tooth’s) too much sugar. Most recipes call for an almost equal rhubarb to sugar ratio. Yuk, my teeth hurt even thinking about it, and what’s rhubarb without a bit of pucker? I reduced and reduced till I came up with a fruit/sugar ratio of about half of that. Use a candy thermometer with this recipe. Since there is not much pectin in rhubarb, you must reach the soft gel point. Once you have added the rhubarb, keep an eye on it. You barely want cook it or it will disintegrate and you will have a bit of a mush, which will taste fabulous but wont be quite as stunning
I used hothouse rhubarb which I think has more water in it and is not quite as tart as the wild variety.
The Rhubarb Rosemary is crazy good.
It was a huge hit with the grown ups. The rosemary enhances the wonderfully weird flavor of rhubarb. This jam is an excellent savory condiment, perfect on a cheese plate and delicious with spring lamb. Try it with duck or fois gras, or there's always toast. I know this sounds bizzaro but I mixed some with mustard and served it with my Easter Lamb, very, very yummy

(master recipe)


8 cups cut rhubarb (about 2 ½ -3 lbs)
4 cups sugar
1 lemon juiced


1. Wash and trim rhubarb and cut into 1” pieces. Place in a non reactive bowl with sugar and lemon juice and macerate over night or until sugar is dissolved.
2. Strain the syrup into a preserving pan and bring to a boil. Skim. Continue boiling and skimming till you reach the gel point, 221 on a candy thermometer.
3. Add the rhubarb and return to a boil. Skim. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, stirring, careful to maintain the integrity of the fruit.
4. Place jam in hot sterilized jars, seal and label.

Makes 12 ½ pint jars



1 2” piece of ginger sliced into coins
12 springs rosemary washed


Follow directions for master recipe above.

2. Place 4 sprigs rosemary and sliced ginger in preserving pan with rhubarb syrup. You can put them in cheesecloth or an infuser for easy removal.

3. Remove rosemary and ginger when cooking is completed.

4. Place a 3” sprig of rosemary in each jar before adding hot preserves.

NOTE: For an even more savory flavor try 2 sprigs rosemary in a few of the jars.


  1. Hi Nina,
    Do these need to be further processed (ie. boiling water bath) to be pantry-safe, or is this all there is to do? Is it really that easy!? I'm hoping so.....


  2. Hi Noelle,

    This is the $50,000 question. I have been remiss in doing a post about this sticky topic. First off, because it's the proper thing to do, I am going to refer you the USDA site on canning, which has the official recommendations for safe canning methods

    I grew up canning with my mother and my grandmother. The general rule of thumb was hot water baths were for reserved for tomatoes, vegetables,anything pickled and canned fruits.
    We did not process jams and jellies, the theory
    being that the sugar in them acted as a natural preservative. The USDA now recommends processing for everything.

    For small batches(4-5 jars) I use the inversion method, where you turn hot sterilized jars filled with hot preserves, upside down immediatly after filling. This produces a vacum effect that prevents spoiling. Turn jars upright after five minutes. Cool for 24 hours and check seals.You should be able to remove the ring-band and have the lid firmly secured to the jar,in fact you should be able to lift the jar by the lid. If you don't have a proper seal stick it in the fridge.

    For larger batches, where it is harder to control the heat of the product going into the jars, I use a hot water bath.
    That said , a hot water bath is NO BIG DEAL! All you need is a pasta pot , a steamer that fits in it,some water and a lid.
    And don't forget common sense, you need that.If anything, ever looks weird or bubbly or brown...toss it.
    I appologize for the long winded respose and I hope I didn't make any of this sound more complex than it is. Please email me with any other questions.


  3. I'm really excited to try your Rhubarb Rosemary. I also live in LA (MdR) and look forward to seeing it come in at the farmer's market.

    Have you found a good resource for jars that look good? (I'm betting you have...)


  4. Janet,

    I just saw rhubarb at the Santa Monica farmers market last Wednesday! Did you see my post on Jars in September?

  5. Yes, I used your suggestions and received a big batch of three different kinds of jars. I have WAAAY too many. Looks like I've got my hobby cut out for me.

    I didn't see the rhubarb, but haven't been able to go to the Wednesday mkt since starting back to work full time last month : (

  6. Work is good, and there is always the Saturday Market. Happy canning with all those jars!

  7. I'm really excited to try this - I've just started the recipe and am making a smaller batch with 1 bunch of rhubarb (about 2.5 cups), 1.25 c sugar, and half of a small lemon. Will the sugar really dissolve into a syrup with so little liquid? Right now it's just a crunchy/sandy mixture . . .

  8. Where does one obtain unusual looking jars for canning?

  9. Hi, Nina.

    Can you please tell me what jars you have used here?

    I tend to use Le Parfait or Weck jars but these look good, too.



  10. What a shame to throw food in the garbage. Was there really nothing else that could be made with this too sweet jam?