Preserving Rhubarb

My garden is not doing so well.  I have planted exactly zero.  I am lucky that I have kale growing out there (apparently it re-seeded itself last fall), and then I have strawberries growing and of course my rhubarb plants are doing extremely well.  It is probably good that I haven’t planted anything yet though, since it is a lovely 44 degrees out right now.  While there are several cold weather vegetables that would be fine with this weather, I tend to grow more of the tomatoes/peppers/cucumbers, and they don’t enjoy the cold as much!

But, my rhubarb, well that is growing extremely well. 

I planted three plants several years ago.  They were separated from a friend’s plants.  Actually the same friend that gave my mom her rhubarb when I was little – which also is still growing really well!  Glad to know the rhubarb will stand the test of time!

I knew I had to get out there and pick some to start preserving, so this past weekend I did just that.  I picked a little bit to try my hand at canning it.

For all the rhubarb I have eaten over the years, we never ended up preserving any of it.  It always went into delicious pies and rhubarb sauce for ice cream that was immediately eaten.

I love rhubarb though, and thought that preserving some, when we have such an abundance of it, would make sense.  Especially in the middle of winter when I am looking for a taste of spring again!

I didn’t realize how easy canning rhubarb was.  You literally chop up the rhubarb, add ½ cup of sugar for each quart (4 cups) of rhubarb, and let it sit for several hours to draw out the juice of the rhubarb, boil for one minute, then pack in hot jars and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.  It was the easiest canning I have ever done, and I wish I had picked more rhubarb before the deluge of rain started.

My mom told me to let the rhubarb sit for a couple days to sweeten up and dry out after the rain, and then pick it again.  So that is what I plan to do.  And then I will pick a lot more for canning. 

Matt, the kids and I sampled some of the warm rhubarb last night, and we all decided it was delicious and could be eaten straight from the jar as our dessert after dinner!

As long as the rain continues intermittently we should have plenty of rhubarb for me to make some strawberry rhubarb jam, which is something I have wanted to do the past several years, but never got to making.  A few more weeks before strawberry picking time, and then we will be in full swing of the preserving season here at Townsend House.

Do you grow rhubarb?  Do you use it for anything besides pies?  Rhubarb sauce over vanilla ice cream is one of my favorite desserts!


  1. This looks fantastic! Way to make use of the harvest you have there! I love it so, so much - it's definetely one of my favorites!

  2. Hi, I just found your blog via Soulemama. Your rhubarb recipe is the simplest I've seen, and I love that you only use a small amount of sugar. I have an abundance of rhubarb from the garden so will try your recipe. All the best. Lova

  3. I've never tried preserving rhubarb but it sounds so simple! Last year we acquired 9 pounds of rhubarb thanks to the next door neighbour having a glut, I froze most of it and we've enjoyed it all through the winter - I'm not sure I have space to grow it myself!


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