Rhubarb and Orange Jam

Kate Punshon - Saturday, January 19, 2019

A simple and easy rhubarb jam to use up Spring’s abundant bounty. This delicious jam with chunks of rhubarb and citrus overtones is a delight to make. Spread thickly on toast, crumpets, croissant or your favourite breakfast bread or pastry. Use a generous dollop on scones with cream as an alternative to traditional strawberry jam, use as a tart, pancake and crepe filling or serve with ice-cream, cheesecake or waffles. A truly versatile jam that won’t last long in the pantry. Although most often eaten as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. Oh, and is there a difference between red and green rhubarb? Apart from the colour difference, they taste the same. They are just a different variety. And where does it's tart flavour come from?  It contains high is levels of naturally occurring oxalates.

Preparation time:    1 hour
Cooking time:         15 mins
Quantity:                 4 x 250 ml jars


Prepare steps 1-4 in the Method  section below the day prior to making the jam

Warm sterilised sealable glass jars and lids.


700g tender rhubarb- preferably red
615g white sugar
3 Orange – juice and grated rind
1 Lemon – juice and grated rind


  1. Trim rhubarb to remove leaves. Wash to remove any garden dirt or store debris and lightly dry with clean tea towel or paper towel.
  2. Cut into 1.5cm lengths. If you cut into too small pieces rhubarb will cook to a mush and produce a different jam texture.
  3. Place approximately a 1/3 of the rhubarb in a bowl, layer with 1/3 sugar. Repeat layering the fruit and sugar, ending with a sugar layer on top. 
  4. Cover and leave to stand overnight in a cool place.
  5. The next day, place the rhubarb and syrupy sugar mixture into a preserving pan. 
  6. Add the grated orange and lemon rind and juices.
  7. Stir over gentle heat until sugar completely dissolved.
  8. Increase the heat and bring the mixture quickly to the boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the jam is thick and reaches setting point.
  9. Remove the jam from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Using a funnel, pour into warm dry sterilised screw cap sealable jars. Fill to approximately 2.5cm (1inch) from the top and seal using your preferred method.
  11. Label and store in a cool dark place in the kitchen or pantry.
  12. Allow the jam to mature for at least 2 weeks before eating


  1. Variations: Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam, Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam
  2. Choose ripe clean fruit. Do not use overripe and never use mouldy fruit as this will produce a poor-quality jam.
  3. Standing the cut rhubarb in sugar overnight will draw moisture and some colour out of the rhubarb. This will allow the rhubarb to cook more quickly and add a rich colour to the jam. 
  4. If you want a jam texture which has pieces of rhubarb pieces, do not cut rhubarb too small. It will cook too quickly and completely break down in the cooking process. 
  5. Heat sugar gently and cook slowly until the sugar has completely dissolved before boiling otherwise the fruit skin will toughen and the sugar may crystallise.
  6. Once the sugar has dissolved and the fruit is soft, boil rapidly until the jam reaches setting point
  7. Stir occasionally to prevent the jam from sticking on the bottom of the pot. But not too often as this will lower the temperature and delays reaching the setting point.
  8. Rapid boiling until the setting point is reached, to preserve the fresh fruit flavour. Long slow simmering of the jam affects the colour and reduces the flavour of the jam.
  9. Do not eat or feed the leaves to animals. Due to the high concentrations of oxalic acid and oxalate, eating may result in reactions .Rhubarb is often cited as poisonous plant.

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