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Peanut butter and rhubarb jam on toast, on a plate with a jam filled spon.

Rhubarb Freezer Jam

An easy small batch freezer jam with vibrant color, and a hint of vanilla and citrus. There's no commercial pectin and no canning for this recipe. Simple. Easy. Slather it on all the things!
This recipe yields about 2 C (680g) soft set jam, enough to fill three 1/2 pint jars with 1/2" head space.
I recommend using a food thermometer to make sure the jam reaches proper temperature so it sets up. However, if you don't have a thermometer, you can test it using a freezer test* (see notes).
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword Rhubarb Freezer Jam
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 32 Tbs
Calories 49kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


  • 1 lb 10 oz (750g) Rhubarb stalks
  • 1 Tbs Orange Zest from about 1 large orange
  • 1/3 C (70g) Orange Juice fresh squeezed, from about 1 large orange
  • 1 3/4 C (400g) Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean optional but recommended



  • For this recipe I use three 1/2 pint mason jars with screw top lids.
    Wash and rise the jars and lids in hot soapy water, or wash in the dish washer. Set aside to dry.
  • Find a large heavy bottom nonreactive sauce pan (like stainless steel) or use a Dutch oven to make the jam, at least 4 quarts (3.8L), larger if you have the capacity. You want a heavy bottom so the jam doesn't burn and the pot large enough so that the fruit is at least 2 1/2 - 3 inches (7.6 cm) below the rim of the pot.
  • Wash the rhubarb stalks to rid it of may dirt or debris. Trim the ends and discard. Cut the rhubarb stalks to 1/2 - 1" (1.7 cm - 2.54 cm) pieces. If there are thick pieces, cut the rhubarb through the center lengthwise so that all the pieces are of about equal size. You should have about 5 1/2 C (685g) once the rhubarb is cut. Set aside.
  • If using the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and set aside, reserving the pod.

To Make the Jam:

  • To the heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven add the rhubarb, orange juice, zest, sugar and vanilla bean pod (empty of its seeds). Stir, coating the rhubarb - use your longest handle wooden spoon.
    On medium high heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. The sugar will start to melt and the rhubarb will begin breaking down. Once simmering, increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring as needed (often) to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Rotate the pan if needed to avoid burner hot spots. The mixture will boil vigorously at first, but as it cooks down, it will boil more slowly.
  • You'll notice foam starting to form on the surface. Skim this off and discard (don't worry about getting all of it, just do the best you can).
    Continue cooking, stirring and adjusting the heat a bit as needed to avoid sputter and spattering, while keeping it bubbling. Use the spoon to mash the rhubarb to help break it down.
  • Meanwhile, fill the sink with a very shallow pool of water.
    Cook until a temperature of between 220-222F (104-105C) is reached. This will take about 18-20 minutes (see note* if you don't have a thermometer). Remove from heat and dip the bottom of the pot in the shallow pool of water to stop the cooking process.
  • Stir in the vanilla beans.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes and allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring occassionally to help cool. You'll notice the jam start to thicken. Fish out the vanilla pod and discard or place it in one of the jars where it will continue to flavor the jam.
  • Transfer jam to clean jars leaving about a 1/2" (1.3cm) head space so the jam has room to expand as it freezes. Lid and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge overnight where it will thicken further and set, then transfer to the freezer.

How to Store the Jam:

  • Jam can be enjoyed after chilling in the fridge for an hour or two. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for six + months. Do not store at room temperature as this jam is not shelf stable.


*While I recommend a food thermometer for this recipe, if you don't have a one you can test to see if the jam has cooked enough to set. Place a spoon in the freezer. After cooking the jam for about 18-20 minutes, remove the jam from the heat and coat the back of the frozen spoon with the jam. Give it a moment to cool. Once cool, run your finger through the jam. If a clear path is made through the jam, and no jam on the sides fill in, your jam should be ready. If not, cook the jam a little longer and retest. 


Serving: 1Tbs | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg