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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Jello Recipe
It’s rhubarb season! This easy strawberry rhubarb jam recipe only takes 3 ingredients and just a little time split between 2 days. It makes a small batch that you can easily keep in your refrigerator.
One of the best parts of this recipe is that you don’t have to spend time chopping up strawberries – the delicious strawberry flavor comes from strawberry Jello mix!
What You’ll Need
With only three ingredients, this is one of the easiest homemade jam recipes you can make. All you need is 5 cups rhubarb, 3 cups of sugar (the white granulated kind, nothing fancy), and a 3-ounce package of strawberry jello mix.
While you might be able to use frozen rhubarb, we’ve never tried it. We always cut it, chopped it, and put it in the fridge with sugar all on the same day. If you try using frozen, let me know how it turns out!
If you’re able to find wild strawberry jello mix online or in the grocery store, that’s even better, but they seem to have discontinued it. Regular strawberry jello works just fine. We’ve always used Jello brand gelatin, but you could try a store brand version as well. Let me know how it goes if you do.
This recipe uses 5 half-pint jars (aka one cup canning jars) with regular-mouth lids and jar rims. Any decent Mason jars or other reputable jar brand will work.
Chopping the Rhubarb
First, you’ll want to wash the rhubarb thoroughly in water. Get as many little pieces of dirt and debris off as you can.
Cut off any leaves and root material from your fresh rhubarb, then peel most of the viney green and red casing off if you have large stalks. Check for damaged sections and cut them out.
Cut rhubarb in half lengthwise, and again lengthwise if necessary to get 4 pieces. Chop rhubarb into small pieces down to the end. However you choose to chop them, you should be left with approximately 1/4 inch cubes of rhubarb.
When planning, don’t forget to start the rhubarb the night before. It allows the rhubarb time to meld with the sugar and get watery, so it’s ready for boiling the next day.
To start, place rhubarb in a dish. Pour the sugar over it, and leave it alone. Don’t stir! You’ll be amazed at how it changes overnight even without stirring. Leave it alone until at least the next morning.
Before making the jam the next morning, start sanitizing the jars. When I make the jam, I just throw clean jars, lids, and rims in the bottom of a large stockpot and bring it to a full boil until I need them, but if you want better – safer – guidance, follow these instructions. It’s important to have fully sterilized jars before canning. If you have a metal canning funnel, you may wish to sanitize that as well and use it when pouring the jam in.
Making the Jam
By the next morning (or any other time of day when you have time to make it) take the rhubarb/sugar mix out. You’ll notice it’s now mostly liquid! You can stir it at this point and pour it into a medium to large pot.
Set the pot to cook over medium heat, and stir it often until it begins to boil. If you’re worried about burning, feel free to stir it the entire time.
Once the mixture begins boiling, start stirring constantly if you weren’t already, and set a timer for 10 minutes. Once you’ve stirred the boiling rhubarb and sugar for 10 minutes, you can add the packet of jello mix. Stir and remove the pot from the heat. You’ll have to work quickly after this point, so you may want to have another person to assist you at least for your first time.
Canning Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Start by using clean tongs to pull out each of the hot jars, lids, and rims from the boiling water. Lay them out on a clean, lint-free dish towel or clean paper towels. The towels capture any jam that doesn’t make it in the jar and protect your countertop from heat damage and staining from the red dye in the jello. If you want to use a funnel, get that set up now too. Have all 5 jars lined up and ready to go.
Once everything is ready, start carefully pouring the jam into the jars. It’s best to pour it straight from the pot if you can safely do so, but if not, dip a clean ladle in the hot water and then use that.
Fill the jars to within an inch of the top. Don’t worry about leaving a full inch headspace or more from the top of the jars, the jam actually doesn’t rearrange itself too much when setting. Try to get all 5 cans filled equally, and whatever space is left over will be plenty of headspace.
Once you’ve filled each jar, wipe the jar rim with a moist paper towel, place a lid on top, then screw bands down. You don’t have to hurt yourself tightening the rims down, just get it tight enough that the lid can’t come loose without someone purposely unscrewing it. Use a towel or potholder while you do this, because the jam, jars, and lids are all extremely hot.
Once all the jars are filled and sealed, let them sit on your counter for a half hour to let the hot jam cool to warm or nearly room temperature. You should start to hear popping when the lids suck down, but don’t stress if you don’t. Place jars in the refrigerator after a half hour and leave them alone.
Because the popping can be iffy, wait until several hours have passed (or check the next day) to see if all the circles in the center of the lids have indented. Any that haven’t are still fine to use, but I would recommend using them up sooner rather than later. You can take the rims of the jars off to check for sure, but I prefer to leave those alone.
If you intend to use all the jam within the next few weeks, the full canning procedure with popping lids isn’t particularly important. They’re stored in the refrigerator, so they’re unlikely to spoil.
If you plan to keep them in the refrigerator for several months, however, make sure they’ve all indented, and use up any that haven’t sucked in soon, just to be on the safe side.
You can now congratulate yourself on having made your own batch of strawberry rhubarb jam!
This jam can be used within a few hours of being made – it just needs long enough for the jello to work its magic and thicken the jam. You’ll discover there are many different jam textures – sometimes it will be super thick, others softer and gooier. All of them are equally delicious. My favorite is softer, personally, since it’s easier to spread. I believe the soft consistency has to do with boiling for exactly 10 minutes and not leaving it on the heat after adding the jello, but I’m not 100% certain of that. You can play around with it and see what produces the best texture for you.
This jam should always be stored in the refrigerator, even unopened. Since there are only five cups of jam in the finished product, they don’t take up much space.
You can spread the jam on just about anything, but the very best way is on homemade bread with a little butter. English muffins, biscuits, and plain muffins also make delicious bases for it. While we’ve never tried it, I’m sure it would be delicious as a filling for thumbprint cookies. You could even go really wild and try making peanut butter and jelly with it!
The options are endless, as it’s delicious in pretty much any situation where you’d regularly use a jam or jelly. It’s a very sweet strawberry rhubarb jam, no tart flavor whatsoever, so use it accordingly!
FAQs About Making Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Jello
Is rhubarb jam stringy?
Only a little bit – it’s not like eating celery, but if you don’t remove all the peels there can sometimes be small strings in the jam once it’s finished. They’re generally not too noticeable.
Is rhubarb high in pectin?
No, rhubarb is a vegetable with very little natural pectin.
Do you need to peel rhubarb for jam?
While it’s not entirely necessary, it does make a better jam. It’s most important when you have older, thicker stalks with a thicker casing. Young, thin stalks have a less noticeable peel and can be left on without too much hassle.
Why is my strawberry rhubarb jam runny?
Your strawberry-rhubarb jam may be runny because it hasn’t been left in the refrigerator long enough. If that isn’t the issue, then it likely wasn’t initially boiled long enough or may have had less sugar than it needed.
Why do you pull rhubarb instead of cutting?
Pulling rhubarb can help prevent diseases and pests. It may also encourage the plant to grow a new stalk in its place.
How do you thicken rhubarb jam?
You can try thickening this rhubarb jam after canning by chilling it longer and potentially setting it in an extra-cold part of your refrigerator (like the back of the bottom shelf).
Does lemon juice thicken jam?
While lemon juice does thicken some jams, it’s not recommended for this recipe.
How long should I boil jam for?
Bring the jam to a full rolling boil for exactly 10 minutes for the best success.
Can you over-boil jam?
Yes, overboiling the jam will usually result in a thicker jam that’s difficult to spread.
How do you fix jam that didn’t set?
You can try leaving rhubarb strawberry jam that hasn’t set in the refrigerator longer or in a colder spot in the refrigerator. If all else fails, you can always use it as a delicious strawberry rhubarb syrup over ice cream and other treats!
As far as my family is concerned, this homemade strawberry rhubarb jam with jello recipe is the best there is. We haven’t bothered testing any other since my grandmother started making it many years ago, and it’s one of the most iconic flavors of early summer for us. Try this easy recipe for yourself, and let me know what you think!
If you love rhubarb as much as I do, you’ll want a few other great recipes to make as well! I’ve posted our strawberry rhubarb pie (which, unlike this recipe, does require frozen or fresh strawberries) and rhubarb custard pie on here previously.
Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- 5 cups fresh, finely chopped rhubarb
- 3 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 3 oz. box strawberry Jello mix
- Harvest rhubarb, and chop it up in small pieces. A good rule of thumb is to split a half inch wide rhubarb stalk in half down the middle, then again (so there are four long pieces) and then chop them all into roughly 1/4 inch size pieces.
- Place chopped rhubarb in a bowl and cover with sugar. Do not stir.
- Cover bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, prep 5 half-pint sized jars, lids, and rims by boiling them in hot water.
- Stir the rhubarb and sugar together and dump into a medium pot.
- Cook on medium heat until boiling, stirring often. Once mixture begins boiling, set timer for 10 minutes and stir constantly.
- Once timer goes off, add packet of strawberry jello and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat.
- Drain jam into prepared jars. Seal off and cool for a half hour, then refrigerate until using.