Strawberry rhubarb jam is easy to make at home with a bit of fresh fruit and sugar, no pectin needed. The rhubarb adds a delightful tart flavor to the jam, while the strawberry adds sweetness and helps the jam finish with a beautiful red color.
This particular recipe is actually more of a “Rhubarb Strawberry Jam” with a lot more rhubarb than strawberry.
My dad’s always talking about how much he loves strawberry rhubarb pie, and cherishes the memory of his great grandmother making it every year for his birthday. Rhubarb won’t grow in the Mojave Desert where he lives now, and it’s not exactly something you can pick up at the corner store. It’s actually pretty impossible to find rhubarb in Southern California, trust me, I’ve tried.
Every time my parents visit, I go out of my way to make my favorite strawberry rhubarb pie recipe. This year, I was planning to branch out a bit and try making them this Amish Rhubarb Custard Pie (which doesn’t have strawberries, but custard is delicious too…).
Though a once a year special pie is lovely, I’d really my dad to be able to enjoy the strawberry rhubarb flavors he loves year round. Jam is easy to ship, and definitely travels better than a pie in the mail. This batch of strawberry rhubarb jam is west coast bound…
All of it, except this one jar for my jam loving little ones.
Choosing a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Most strawberry rhubarb jam recipes have more sugar than fruit, and that just doesn’t sit right with me. Sure, the rhubarb is tart, but there’s no way you’re going to enjoy the flavor of either the strawberry or the rhubarb buried in that much sugar.
The problem is, strawberries and rhubarb are both low pectin, and many commercial added pectin brands require a boatload of sugar to help the jam set. In my low sugar strawberry jam recipe, I use Pomona’s pectin which can even be used in both low sugar and no sugar recipes.
My original plan was to take the strawberry rhubarb jam recipe from The Ball Complete Book of Home Canning and adjust it considerably. I’d add more rhubarb, dramatically reduce the sugar, and then substitute Pomona’s pectin in for the regular pectin.
My ideal ratio is 2 cups rhubarb for every cup of strawberries, which actually makes this more of a Rhubarb Strawberry Jam (as opposed to a strawberry rhubarb jam…)
If you’re curious, here’s the original recipe ingredients from ball canning without any alterations:
Ball Canning’s Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe (high sugar)
- 2 cups crushed hulled strawberries
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 packaged powdered fruit pectin (1.75 oz)
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
As you can see…it has 4 cups of fruit, and then 5 1/2 cups of sugar. Way too much in my book. Cutting it down to 2 cups would get you a very sweet jam, and personally, I’d cut it to more like 1 cup for a low sugar strawberry rhubarb jam, so the fruit takes center stage.
That was my plan, until I found a recipe for strawberry rhubarb jam with no pectin and a reasonable amount of sugar in the book Canning for a New Generation. I’m really loving this book, and it’s much more to my taste than the high sugar ball canning book.
If I can make a strawberry rhubarb jam without pectin then I’m going for it!
How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam without Pectin
The trick to getting this jam to set without pectin lies in cooking down the sugar and juices. Strawberries and rhubarb are both very soft fruits, and they’ll completely fall apart in extended cook time. Beyond just falling apart, it’s hard to cook a thick jam made from low pectin fruits enough to get it to gel, and most likely it’ll burn long before it reaches that point.
Instead, this strawberry rhubarb jam is cooked for just 10-15 minutes to extract a bit of juice, and then the fruit are strained out and set aside to be added back later. The sugary juice is then cooked down into a thick syrup and once it’s fully thickened, the fruit can be added back in for a few final minutes of cooking.
The resulting strawberry rhubarb jam thickens naturally without added pectin, and the fruit stays together to keep it a bit chunky. If you don’t like chunky jams, just mash up the fruit at the end and give it an extra minute or two to cook and the fruit will fall apart.
This simple strawberry rhubarb jam comes together easily without pectin. Can the jars or make it a freezer jam, your choice.
- 6 cups rhubarb, trimmed & cut into 1/2'' cubes (about 2 lbs)
- 3 cups strawberries, hulled & sliced (about 1 lb)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Cook the strawberries, rhubarb and sugar with a splash of water (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) for about 10 to 15 minutes until they release their juices.
- When the level of juice completely covers the fruit, turn off the heat and strain.
- Reserve fruit for later, and return the juice to the pan.
- Simmer the juice/sugar mixture until it's reduced to roughly 1 1/2 cups. This should take about 20 minutes, but watch the pot because if it overcooks the syrup will burn.
- Add the fruit back into the reduced juice syrup, along with the lemon juice, and cook for another few minutes.
- For a looser set with bigger fruit chunks, simmer about 5 minutes. For a firmer set, simmer up to 15 minutes. You can test consistency on a plate that's been kept in the freezer, but this jam will not "gel" fully.
- Ladle into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and cap with 2 part canning lids.
- Either store in the refrigerator for immediate use, or process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes for a shelf stable strawberry rhubarb jam.
How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam WITH Pectin
If instead, for whatever reason, you want to use pectin, that’s fine too. With two cups of sugar, this is technically a “low sugar” recipe but it’s very sweet in my book. If you want to make an actual low sugar strawberry rhubarb jam, I’d suggest adding Pomona’s pectin which will help it gel without sugar and can be used in low and no sugar recipes.
Pectin will give the strawberry rhubarb jam a firmer set and reduce the total cook time. If you plant to use pectin, there’s no need to strain the fruit out of the juice and cook the juice separately. Simply add the pectin in according to the package directions.
To make this recipe with Pomona’s pectin, use the same amount of fruit and add 2 tsp calcium water into the fruit and 2 tsp pectin powder into the sugar. Cook the fruit and then add the sugar/pectin in at the end. Cook for 1-2 more minutes then turn off the heat and get the jam into jars.
With this method, you can use as much (or as little) sugar as you want. Pomona’s website specifically suggests somewhere between 1/2 cup to 1 cup honey or 3/4 to 2 cups sugar.
More Strawberry Canning Recipes
Looking for more easy canning recipes featuring strawberries? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Wild Strawberry Jam
- No Sugar Strawberry Jam
- Canning Whole Strawberries
- 30+ Strawberry Canning Recipes