Home Canning Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Strawberry rhubarb jam with fresh strawberries and rhubarb
When canning jam, combine fresh fruits with sugar and boil them slowly until the sugar dissolves. Boil the mixture rapidly once the sugar dissolves until the jam gels, then add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars and process them in a water bath canner, adjusting the processing time per elevation.

Is it Better to Water Bath Can or Pressure Can Jam?

Jams should be preserved using a boiling water bath canner. Most fruits for making jam are high in acid or easy to acidify with lemon juice, which makes jam safe for water bath canning. Furthermore, pressure canning exposes the jam to higher temperatures that may cause it to lose flavor, color, and texture.

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strawberry rhubarb jam jars with fresh fruits

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam Canning Recipe

  • Author: Alex
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 half-pints 1x


Enjoy the delicious blend of the sweetness of strawberry and the tanginess of rhubarb by following this low-sugar and pectin-free jam recipe!


  • 1 pound diced, top-free strawberries
  • 1 pound diced, top-free rhubarb stalks
  • 1 pound sugar
  • ½ ripe lemon to yield at least one tablespoon of lemon juice


  1. Choose the best ripe and slightly underripe fruit for making jam. Use three parts of fully ripe fruits and 1 part of slightly underripe fruits for the best ratio. For the rhubarb, pick stalks with no woody stems.
  2. Wash and rinse the berries and rhubarb under cool running water. Do not soak them.
  3. Prepare 6-8 half-pint jars and their ring bands and new lids. Wash them with lukewarm soapy water and rinse them with lukewarm water.
  4. Sterilize the jars. Put the jars in a large pot, submerge them in fresh water, and bring the water to a boil. Continue boiling for 10 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water until it’s time to fill them. Sterilizing the jars isn’t necessary for altitudes above 1,000 feet.
  5. Prepare your water bath canner. Place the canning rack inside it and add warm water until half-full. Use medium-high heat to heat the canner to a simmer at 180°F.
  6. Add the berries, rhubarb, and sugar to a large pan or stockpot and heat them on medium-high to cook the mixture. Stir frequently with a wooden or plastic spatula until all the sugar melts and dissolves.
  7. Once the sugar dissolves, cook the jam mixture rapidly on high heat to bring it to a boil. Continue boiling for 15 minutes while stirring to avoid sticking and reduce foaming as the jam thickens.
  8. Check the fruit and rhubarb for softness, depending on your preference for soft or firm jam. If you need it softer, mash it carefully with a potato masher or blend it in an immersion blender.
  9. Extract the lemon juice from the lemon and strain it to remove pulp and seeds. Add the juice to the jam and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  10. Check the jam for doneness using a jelly thermometer. It should have an internal temperature of 220-222°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, use the sheeting test. Dip a metal spoon into the jam and hold it horizontally above the pan away from the steam. The jam is done if two big drops slide together and form a sheet hanging off the edge of the spoon.
  11. Take the jam off the heat and promptly skim off the remaining foam.
  12. Fill dry, hot jars with the hot jam using a canning funnel and ladle, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Debubble the jam with a wooden or plastic spatula by running it between the jam and the walls of the jars.
  13. Use clean, hot water-dampened paper towels to wipe the jar rims. Cover the jars with new canning lids and clean ring bands to a finger-tip tight position.
  14. Ensure the canner is at 180°F simmering temperature, then load the filled jars onto the canning rack using a jar lifter or canning tongs. Do not tilt the jars. Each jar should stand on its own. Allow the hot water to reach 1-2 inches over the tops of the jars. You can have hot fresh water ready for adding water to the canner, if necessary.
  15. Heat the water bath canner over high heat and bring it to a rolling boil. Close the lid of the canner and start counting the recommended amount of time per elevation:

Processing Time Per Elevation for Pint and Half-pint Jars

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 5 minutes
  • 1,001 – 6,000ft: 10 minutes
  • Above 6,000ft: 15 minutes

Post Processing

  1. Take the canner off the heat and carefully open its lid to let off steam. Take the jars out singly with canning tongs after resting them in the water for 5 minutes.
  2. Rest the jars on a kitchen countertop lined with warm towels. Allow at least 2 inches of free space between the jars.
  3. Leave the jars to cool naturally to room temperature. Avoid re-tightening the lids. Allow 12-24 hours of undisturbed cooling in a draft-free area.
  4. Unscrew the ring bands and check the seals. The seals shouldn’t flex when you press them. Reprocess unsealed jars of jam with new lids within 24 hours or refrigerate them and eat the contents within 30 days.
  5. Wash the perfectly sealed jars, dry them, and label them with the date of canning and the contents before storing them in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Canning Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 half pint
  • Calories: 376kcal
  • Sugar: 87g
  • Sodium: 30mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 97g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Tips for Canning Jam

Making jam is an art you master with repeated practice, and getting it right each time may be tricky. It’s easier to get excellent results when canning jams by following scientifically approved guidelines for canned food safety.

Follow these tips to make canned jam better:

  • Add ½ teaspoon of butter or margarine to the fruit juice mixture to reduce foaming. This is optional and may corrupt the flavor of the jam in excess.
  • Avoid doubling the recipe because this causes flavor loss, poor gelling, or producing darkened jam.
  • Boil the jam mixture rapidly after the sugar dissolves since slow cooking ruins the added pectin or natural pectin in the fruit juice.
  • Ensure your jam reaches safe canning temperatures of 220-222°F to kill botulism-causing bacteria and make it shelf stable.
  • If using frozen fruits to make jam, defrost the frozen fruit first.
  • Use a non-reactive pot for boiling jam, as the acid may react with the pot and alter the flavor of the jam.
  • Use a wide pot when cooking jam fruits to increase the surface area for moisture loss through evaporation.
Raspberry jam jar with fresh raspberries
Raspberry jam

Can You Can Jam Without Sugar?

Jams and jellies are usually made with granulated white sugar. The sugar helps with gelling and flavor while acting as a preserving agent. The rule of thumb is to use ¾ cup of sugar for every fruit cup.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation warns against canning sugar-free jams or versions with reduced sugar using untested recipes. It recommends using modified industrial pectins to reduce or eliminate sugar.

If you want to do away with added sugar, use other jam-sweetening alternatives like corn syrup or honey. Use half the amount of corn syrup to replace the sugar amount the recipe requires. When replacing sugar with honey, use light honey and add half of it for the sugar amount the recipe requires since honey has more calories than sugar.

The downside to using honey or corn syrup is the risk of masking the fruit flavor of the jam, especially if they are used in excess. Using alternatives may also cause poor gelling. Additionally, jams with no added sugar are better refrigerated or frozen than canned.

Pots of sugar and honey
Sugar and honey

Should Pectin Be Used When Canning Fruit Jam?

Pectin is only necessary when canning fruit jam that is made with low-pectin fruits. It’s also required for low-pectin vegetables.

The following low-pectin fruits and vegetables require added pectin for successful gelling:

Is Lemon Juice Required for Canning Jam?

Lemon juice is required for canning jams if the fruits are low in acid and natural pectin. Using fully ripe fruits only or a poor balance of fully ripe and slightly underripe jam fruits necessitates using lemon juice.

While you can use bottled lemon juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice is better. Add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice for a standard batch of two cups of fruit. Besides acidifying the jam for safe water bath canning, lemon juice also adds natural pectin for successful gelling. This eliminates the need for commercial pectin.

The following low-acid fruits require lemon juice for good thickening or gelling:

  • Berries: Boysenberries, blackberries, gooseberries, strawberries, dewberries, and raspberries.
  • Fruits: Apricots, peaches.
Fresh lemon juice being juiced
Juicing lemons

What Equipment is Needed for Canning Jam?

You’ll need the following kitchen items and canning supplies to can homemade jam:

  • Canning tongs or jar lifter
  • Food mill or sieve for jams made from fruits with seeds for seedless jam
  • Jelly or candy thermometer
  • Ladle
  • Large non-reactive stockpot or pan for cooking jam
  • Paper towels
  • Potato masher or immersion blender
  • Straight-sided canning jars with new lids and clean rings
  • Timer
  • Water bath canner with a rack
  • Wide-mouth canning funnel

Can I Use Frozen Fruit to Make Jam?

Yes – you can use frozen fruit to make jam. The trick is to thaw the fruits first to bring them to room temperature to reduce the cooking time for the jam.

How Long Do You Boil Jam for Canning?

The boiling time for jam ranges between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on the type of fruit and whether or not the jam features added pectin. Soft fruits like berries cook faster. Jam recipes with no pectin require longer cooking time to gel successfully.

To check the doneness of cooked jam, use a thermometer. The jam should be 220°F at sea level and 2°F less for every extra 1,000 feet gained in elevation, but not less than 212°F at any elevation.

Filling boiling jam into jam jars
Filling jars with boiling jam

Best Way to Store Canned Jam

The best way to store canned jam is to keep sealed jars at room temperature in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid heat, direct sunlight, light, dampness, and extreme temperature fluctuations in the storage area.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Canned Jam?

No – properly sealed canned jam is shelf stable and can be stored safely at room temperature.

What is the Shelf Life of Canned Jam?

According to the USDA, successfully sealed canned jam has a shelf life of one year. It’s best to use the jam within six months for the best flavor and texture.


Alex has a farming background and cherishes growing, eating, and preserving his own food. He writes to share his homesteading experience with gardening and food preservation enthusiasts keen on canning and dehydration. When he is not writing, you'll find him tending to his vegetables and fruits or trying new recipes.

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