Preserving rhubarb.


It’s rhubarb season.  If you have a couple of crowns in your vegie patch, it won’t be long before you are over stewed rhubarb and custard.

Last year was my first rhubarb season.  At first, I stewed it and told Maus she had to eat it all because I planted it for her.  When that didn’t work, I took to freezing the excess but I have limited freezer space so, very soon, I had to come up with another plan.

My mind turned to preserving it.  I searched through my books and discovered that it is very easy to do.  The rest of the crop was preserved for winter.  And, the most exciting thing is, we ate it all.

Custard and rhubarb is fine in theory but you don’t eat much in practice and Maus just wasn’t keeping up with the supply.  One morning, I added some, together with a banana, into my breakfast smoothie.  It tasted great.  The rest of the jars disappeared the same way.  If you like your smoothies sweet, add some of the syrup, otherwise, just use the rhubarb.

The only reason I didn’t do a post last year was because I don’t have the gorgeous red variety, hence my rhubarb is not very photogenic.  I bought mine, unnamed, from the local nursery and it is the run-of-the-mill type.  Just imagine how much prettier it would be if I had the nice red-stemmed variety.


The recipe comes from Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

  1. Remove the leaves from the stems and discard.
  2. Trim off the bottoms and cut the stems into 2.5cm pieces.  Wash well and drain.
  3. Measure how much rhubarb you have. For every one litre of rhubarb, use ½ to 1 cup of sugar.  I go with ½ cup and it is plenty sweet enough.
  4. Put the rhubarb and sugar into a bowl.  Coat the rhubarb with the sugar.  Let stand 3 – 4 hours.
  5. Place the rhubarb and sugar into a large saucepan. Slowly bring it to the boil and then boil for 30 seconds. Whilst the rhubarb is coming to the boil, I stir it every now and again to prevent the rhubarb on the bottom cooking.
  6. Place the hot rhubarb into sterilised jars.  Try to pack it down as much as possible.  Pour enough syrup into the jars to cover the rhubarb.  If you find you don’t have enough syrup, make up a bit more.  Leave 1.25cm head space.
  7. Remove any air bubbles then seal.
  8. Process jars for 15 minutes in boiling water.  If you are not sure how to process in boiling water, check out my post on preserving tomatoes here.  It goes into quite a bit of detail.

20 thoughts on “Preserving rhubarb.

  1. Pingback: In My Kitchen – February 2016 | Passion Fruit Garden

  2. My Pete will love to know about preserving rhubarb! It’s his favourite from childhood and I am growing it for the first time this season.
    Have a super weekend Glenda.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  3. I was exposed to rhubarb as a kid, but like most things presented to me by my mum it was awful. I do now however love it. Preference is in a crumble but I enjoy stewed with ice cream, caramelised and I had a relish once that was lovely. Like the sound of rhubarb gin!

  4. Hmmm…another go at a comment. Long story short, I didn’t grow up with rhubarb so I always find it a bit challenging to use. I love it stewed with yoghurt and no doubt custard would be just as delicious.

  5. Aha! This is all Maus’ fault…great idea to put it in smoothies. I haven’t had rhubarb In decades but I remember getting it from my grandmother’s patch and dipping the end into sugar. I guess my mother let me get away with that because at least I was getting some rhubarb in me but it’d say I ate more sugar than rhubarb.

  6. My rhubarb is that rather sludgy colour too. I’ve got lots of frozen rhubarb but it takes up valuable space so I shall try this next summer. It’s also good for Rhubarb Gin.

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