How to Make Home-Canned Rhubarb - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

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How to Can Rhubarb at Home

Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version

Making and canning your own  rhubarb is quite easy.

Ingredients

  • Rhubarb - An average of 10-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 7 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A "lug" (a unit of measure for rhubarb, it is not a reference to your ex) weighs 28 pounds and yields 14 to 28 quarts – an average of 1-1/2 pounds per quart.
  • Sugar - About 1/2 cup dry, granulated (table) sugar for each quart of chopped rhubarb. Yes, you can substitute an equivalent amount of honey or agave.  You can use Stevia or Splenda, but neither produces very good results (color, taste, etc).

Equipment

  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • At least 1 large pot (at least 8-quart size or larger)
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)
  • 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars of applesauce after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment. You can also use a pressure canner - the directions below provide the process times for both water bath and a pressure canner.


Recipe and Directions - Step by Step

Step 1 - Selecting the rhubarb

The most important step!  Choose firm, tender, well-colored stalks with good flavor and few fibers.  The color should be appropriate for the variety of rhubarb: some should be all red when they are ripe, others are still largely green.  If you don't know, ask the farmer or grocery.

 

 

 

Step 2 - How much rhubarb and where to get it

You can pick your own, or buy them at at farm market or the grocery store.  For very large quantities (more than a few bushels), you'll find that real* farmer's markets, like the Farmer's Market in Forest Park, Georgia have them at the best prices. 

You can freeze any quantity of rhubarb.

* - not the cutesy, fake farmer's markets that are just warehouse grocery stores that call themselves farmer's markets.

Step 3 - Wash the rhubarb

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the rhubarb in plain cold or lukewarm water.> Just rub the dirt of with your fingers, under running water.

Step 4 - Cut up the rhubarb

peeled rhubarbRhubarb varieties differ - if the type you have has a tough outer skin, peel it off. You can tell if it is tough if it peels off easily as a thin skin.

You'll then need to remove the ends of the rhubarb - the tough part that connects to the plant (as show at left) and then dice the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 - "Sweat" the rhubarb

In a large saucepan add 1/2 cup sugar for each quart of fruit. Let it stand until juice appears, usually about a half hour.

Step 6 - Cook the rhubarb

Heat gently the rhubarb / sugar mixture to boiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 7 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water

Lids: put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.

 

 

 

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Step 8 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on

Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

home canning jars, lids and rings

This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!

 

 

Step 9 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath

Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. See the chart below for altitude adjustment to processing times, if you are not in the sea level to 1,000ft above sea level range.

Process directions for canning rhubarb in a boiling-water, a dial, or a weighted-gauge canner are given in the tables below:







Recommended process time for Rhubarb, stewed in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 15 min 20 25

Process Times for Rhubarb in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 8 6 7 8 9

Process Times for Some Acid Foods in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI)
at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 8 5 10

Step 10 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!

Lift the jars out of the water with your jar lifter tongs and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.

Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!  Another trick is to keep the uncooked rhubarb or other fruit in the freezer and make and can the as needed, so it's always fresh.


 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:

Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Canned Rhubarb - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**

Item Quantity Cost in 2014 Source Subtotal
fresh rhubarb    7 lbs $2/lb PYO, $3/b picked Grow or Pick your own $14.00
Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings 8 jars $7.50/dozen

Lids alone are about $1.25 per dozen

Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $5.00
Sweetener - see step 4 4 cups $1.75 Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $1.75
Total $20.75 total
or about $2.59 per jar

(if you already have the jars, and just need new lids then it is about: $1.85 per jar

And if you grow your own rhubarb, it's almost free!

** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning.

 



This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009. Reviewed November 2009.

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Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

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