Canning Rhubarb

Ah, Rhubarb (Rheum Rhabarbarum). Many consider rhubarb to be a fruit because of the way we use it but it is indeed a vegetable, belonging to the buckwheat family. This is a plant I see in just about everyone’s garden in town here. Rhubarb thrives in climates where the temperatures dip below 4 Degrees Celsius. In the spring when not much is happening here (snow is melting very slowly) plump, oval bulb-like growths are emerging from the barely thawed earth. Sometimes you can even see it poking through the snow. From that point it usually takes less than a month before we can harvest tart stalks of rhubarb. Every variety has it’s varying degrees of tartness, but in general, this is a vegetable that needs some degree of sugar coating.

Warning: Leaves are poisonous!

What's left after my dog dug out the crowns last year.

What’s left after my dog dug out the crowns last year.


-1lb trimmed rhubarb yields 2 cups coarsely cubed rhubarb

-You will need 1-1/2lb for each quart (1L) jar

-Select firm crisp stalks-cut rhubarb should snap when bent

-Rhubarb can be stored for up to two weeks tightly covered in the crisper drawer in the fridge


Lovely color!

Lovely color!

Rhubarb is a plant that comes into contact with the ground-it needs to be washed before using. Wash rhubarb in a sink of cool water to which a drop or two of food-safe liquid soap has been added. Rinse well, drain, and pat dry. Cut stalks into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces.

Canning Rhubarb

1. Prepare Equipment: Wash and heat pint or quart jars and scald the lids, ladle and tongs.

2. Stew With

Sugar: In a stock pot, combine a half a cup of sugar for every 4 cups of cut rhubarb. Let this stand at room temperature until juice appears. This could take 30 minutes or longer, depending on the amount of rhubarb. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Rhubarb ChunksStewing Rhubarb

3. Pack Rhubarb Into Hot Jars: The tartness of rhubarb requires that it be stewed with sugar and not packed raw. Fill jars with stewed rhubarb, leaving a 1/2 inch head space. Wipe sealing edge of jars with a clean damp, lint-free cloth. Position flat lids over the tops of jars and hand tighten screw bands.

4. Process Rhubarb: In a boiling water canner process according to your altitude.

Jar Size      0-1000ft          1001-3000ft                3001-6000            6000+

Pints          15mins                20mins                        25mins                30mins

Quarts        20 mins                25mins                       30mins                35mins

Canned Rhubarb

5. Cool, Label & Store: Lift your jars from canner and place on a clean towel. Do not re-tighten screw bands. Let your jars cool at room temperature. This may take from 12-24 hours. Check lid seals. Label sealed jars and store in a cool, dark place.


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