Canning rhubarb is possible in water bath canners and pressure canners. Rinse rhubarb stalks and macerate them in sugar for up to four hours. Boil the macerated rhubarb before adding it to sterilized canning jars. Process the jars in a water bath canner or pressure canner per canner type and elevation.
What is the Best Way to Preserve Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a high-acid vegetable, making it safe for both water bath and pressure canning. However, the best way to preserve rhubarb is to process it in a water bath canner. Pressure canning exposes rhubarb to prolonged heat, which can break down cell walls resulting in a mushy texture.
Step-by-Step Guide to Pressure Canning Rhubarb
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends processing stewed rhubarb in a water bath canner or pressure canner, depending on your preference.
Follow the instructions below to safely pressure-can rhubarb:
- Select the best fresh rhubarb from your garden or farmer’s market. It should have crisp, bright pink stems.
- Gather enough rhubarb for canning. You’ll need 10½ pounds per 7-quart canner load or 7 pounds per 9-pint canner load.
- Remove the root ends and poisonous rhubarb leaves. Wash the stalks under cool running water. Use paper towels to dab off the excess water. Cut the rhubarb stalks into ½- or 1-inch pieces using a sharp knife.
- Put the chopped rhubarb in a large, non-reactive bowl, preferably made of stainless steel rather than aluminum. Sprinkle ½ cup of sugar for each quart of rhubarb and stir thoroughly.
- Place a tea towel over the bowl and leave the rhubarb to macerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the moisture content and the amount of rhubarb. The sugar pulls rhubarb juice from the stalks to make rhubarb syrup.
- Once your rhubarb has macerated, get your home canning kit ready. Wash the lids, screw bands, and jars in hot soapy water. Rinse them with warm water.
- Cover the canning jars with water in a large pot and boil them for 10 minutes. This will sterilize the jars. Keep them hot in water until it’s time to fill them.
- Load a canning rack into your pressure canner and fill it with 2-3 inches of water. Boil the water and keep it at 180°F, ready for hot-packed rhubarb.
- Pour the macerated rhubarb with the syrup into a large saucepan and gently boil it. Stir the rhubarb as it cooks to prevent scorching.
- Ladle the hot, stewed rhubarb into the hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Ensure you fill each jar with equal amounts of solid rhubarb and liquid syrup.
- Use a bubble popper or plastic utensil to de-bubble the jars.
- Use dampened paper towels to wipe off the jar rims thoroughly. Place new canning lids on the jars and apply screw bands. Fasten the bands until they are fingertip tight.
- Use a jar lifter to load the jars into the pressure canner, ensuring the jars do not touch each other or the sides of the canner.
- Close the canner lid, leaving the vent open. Apply high heat under the canner for 20 minutes to bring it to a steady venting pace. Let it vent for 10 minutes.
- Fit an oven mitt into your hand and then close the steam vent. Let the canner pressurize to process the rhubarb per your canner type and altitude:
Processing times for hot-packed stewed rhubarb in a dial-gauge pressure canner:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 2,000||2,001 – 4,000||4,001 – 6,000||6,001 – 8,000|
|Pint jars (8 minutes)||6 lbs||7 lbs||8 lbs||9 lbs|
|Quart jars (8 minutes)||6 lbs||7 lbs||8 lbs||9 lbs|
Processing times for hot-packed stewed rhubarb in a weighted-gauge canner:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 1,000||1,001 +|
|Pint jars (8 minutes)||5 lbs||10 lbs|
|Quart jars (8 minutes)||5 lbs||10 lbs|
- Process pint and quart jars for 8 minutes.
- Stop the heat and lift the canner onto a counter covered with thick kitchen towels. Let the canner cool and depressurize to zero with the vent closed. Leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes after depressurizing before opening the lid from the canner.
- Remove the jars from the canner using a jar lifter and place them apart on a counter lined with thick kitchen towels. Do not tighten the lids or tilt the jars.
- Air-cool the jars for 12-24 hours.
- Unfasten the screw bands and inspect the seals on the jars. Sealed jars will have stationary lids that do not flex up and down.
- Refrigerate and reprocess unsealed jars within 24 hours or refrigerate and use the contents within three days.
- Wipe the exterior of properly sealed jars and label them with the date of canning and contents. Store the labeled jars in a cool, dark, dry place.
Can Rhubarb Be Water Bath Canned?
Since it is a high-acid food, stewed rhubarb or pickled rhubarb can be processed in a water bath canner. Pickling rhubarb enhances its tartness, and most home food preservation enthusiasts downplay this tartness by making pickled strawberry rhubarb. To make this version, simply add strawberries to the canning recipe for rhubarb.
Another way of enjoying water bath canned rhubarb is by making canned jelly using powdered pectin or Pomona’s pectin for a low-sugar version.
What is the Difference Between Canning and Pickling Rhubarb?
Canning rhubarb involves hot packing it, while pickling rhubarb involves raw packing it into jars and pouring pickling brine over it. Both canned and pickled rhubarb can be processed in a pressure canner. However, the vinegar in pickled rhubarb also makes it safe to store in a refrigerator without canning.Print
Is Freezing Rhubarb Better Than Canning It?
Canning rhubarb is much better than freezing it. Frozen rhubarb is challenging to store because it is bulky, while canned rhubarb is space-efficient.
However, if you prefer to freeze rhubarb, there are many methods for doing so. The best way is to blanch the rhubarb and freeze it raw without added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Frozen rhubarb lasts up to 12 months and can be used in rhubarb recipes such as ice cream, rhubarb jam, and strawberry rhubarb pies.
Here’s how to prepare rhubarb for freezing:
- Wash rhubarb stalks in cold water.
- Blanch the stalks for 1 minute in boiling water and shock them immediately in ice water for 2 minutes.
- Dry-pack the blanched rhubarb into airtight containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Keep the containers in the freezer.
- Alternatively, flash-freeze the blanched rhubarb stalks for 1-2 hours in baking trays until firm. Then pack them into airtight freezer containers and keep them in the freezer.
How to Store Canned or Pickled Rhubarb
Canned or pickled rhubarb should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid keeping it close to heat and light sources. Maintain a storage temperature of 50°-70°F.
What is the Shelf Life of Canned Rhubarb?
Canned rhubarb and canned pickled rhubarb will last at least 12 months in a cool, dark, dry place. Uncanned pickled rhubarb has a shelf life of 2 months in the refrigerator.
Opened jars of canned rhubarb should be refrigerated and eaten within three days, while opened jars of pickled rhubarb should be refrigerated and consumed in fourteen days.