Rhubarb Jam & Simple Syrup

by Maggie Battista on March 23, 2011

in All Recipes, Desserts, Drinks, Food Gifts, Fruit

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam & Rhubarb Simple Syrup

My jam making exploits are legendary in my household. I wish I could boast that the legend is due to each and every jar tasting exceptionally delicious. Some of them are pretty darn good, but some of them fail miserably. I remember a pot of bright yellow raspberries that burnt to a crisp while I was watching Gossip Girl. Blair took revenge on her latest target and my pot of promising and bright fruit became her next victim.

My jamming is memorable mainly because I’ll slow cook a jelly and preserve it at anytime. Anytime. Honestly, I’ll jam and can anything. At home or while away in Maine or even France. I typically don’t bother myself with cooking schedules, acid levels or canning times. I simply cook everything forever, add in lots of lemon juice and process my jars in boiling water for as long as I can take it. Forgive the pun. I’m such a bad jamming lady.

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam & Rhubarb Simple Syrup

I realize a laid back attitude doesn’t necessarily mesh with professional jam making, but it’s not like I’m selling my personal jams (yet). I jam for fun, to store away flavors of each season and delight the people I adore with handmade food. Still, I promise that when I do give jars away, I perform my due diligence and ensure that my cooked fruit has ample acid for long-term storage and is processed well.

My favorite time of year to jam is actually the spring. Certainly, the summer provides jewels for preservation like nectarines, tomatoes and raspberries; one by one riping up and taking center stage as the weeks pass. But I prefer spring fruit. After a hard winter of dormant garden beds and little fruit variety, every spring specimen is a surprise and a real joy. I appreciate the sense of renewal that fills each freshly canned jar. I don’t resent the bravado of summer, but I do hold high regard for the newness of spring.

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

While I can’t get enough of citrus this year (and I know I’m not the only one), I am perennially enchanted by rhubarb. If I ever had a signature fruit, rhubarb is mine, tart and sweet but mostly tart, in a good way. And forget adding strawberries. My signature fruit doesn’t need more than a bit of sugar to find its way to agreeableness.

After spending this past weekend making Meyer Lemon and Elderflower Marmalade (recipe to come, promise!) the way the pros would, marinating the fruit overnight to encourage pectin development and cooking and processing the fruit for two hours the next day, all courtesy of my new favorite cookbook The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, I’m exhausted and ready for the ease of my sloppy methods once again.

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Sure, the tediously intensely lemon marmalade is “heaven” according to my mother, but the rhubarb jam I made earlier this month, with a recipe I had envisioned nearly a year ago while living in Paris, is gone. There’s no more in my house and each of the recipients of my tiny jars have emailed and called, politely asking for any stray jars. So there’s no need to worry that there isn’t any traditional lemon juice in this batch (the real lemon juice ensures you have ample acid for long-term storage) because these jars won’t last for long. I had some extra rhubarb and made some herby simple syrup for spring cocktails. Now someone just needs to invite me to a dinner party and I’ll stroll in carrying my signature fruit in syrup and ample vodka or gin to booze it up. Any takers?

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs of fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups organic vanilla cane sugar (white cane sugar works well too)
  • ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ vanilla pod, sliced down the center
  • 1 spring of rosemary, wrapped in cheesecloth (so you’re not picking sprigs out of the cooked jam)

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, Meyer lemon juice, vanilla extract, water, vanilla pod and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, and then cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thick. It will thicken more as it cooks but won’t really set and become firm. Ladle into hot sterile jars and seal with lids and rings. Store in the refrigerator.

Rosemary Vanilla Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rhubarb Rosemary Simple Syrup

Ingredients

  • 5 stalks of fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of organic cane sugar
  • 2 springs of rosemary

Directions

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the rhubarb, water, rosemary sprigs and sugar. Cook about 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved and let cool completely. Once cool, strain into a container and store in the refrigerator for about a week or two. If you’d like to make it last a while, store in a sterilized jar.

Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's writing her first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2015.


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  • http://www.loveandoliveoil.com Lindsay

    Love those jars! Where did you get them? Our store only carries the plain old standard jars. And this looks delicious. Wonder if I can get my hands on some fresh rhubarb around here…

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thanks, Lindsay! Rhubarb is just too good. You should try my cordial, it’s brewing away now.

      The Weck jar holding the simple syrup is from Kaufmann Mercantile (my new favorite shop for Weck jars due to free shipping) http://store.kaufmann-mercantile.com/

      These jam jars are available in most grocery stores in New England. They’re 1/2 pint jars from the Ball Elite collection (silver) and are sold in 4 packs. Hope this helps!

      • http://lovellavenue.com Lovell Avenue

        Love those 1/2 pint jars — thanks for sharing the info!

  • http://www.loveandoliveoil.com Lindsay

    Love those jars! Where did you get them? Our store only carries the plain old standard jars. And this looks delicious. Wonder if I can get my hands on some fresh rhubarb around here…

  • http://www.lizlemonnights.wordpress.com Alyssa

    Gah, it’s rhubarb season already?!? I’ve been anxiously waiting for those divine cherry red stalks of amazingness ALL WINTER. I didn’t see any at Whole Foods this week. Farmers Market? I really hope they show up soon. I just adore rhubarb compote with fresh cream. And I’m sad to say that I didn’t discover as to how awesome it was until I studied abroad in Ireland, of all places.

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Hi Alyssa! I found mine at Whole Foods – though it wasn’t especially local. When I see it, I just grab it because sometimes the local crop only lasts 1-2 weeks. I remember a couple years ago when there was basically no rhubarb in all of Massachusetts and I missed out on making my cordials, jams and syrups. I’ve learned to never pass on a bunch in the spring now… :) I hope to visit Ireland soon btw!

  • http://twitter.com/familystylefood FamilyStyleFood

    So pretty. I just woke up to a grey, dreary morning and your photos of rhubarb jam remind me that summer fruit will be here soon. Love the rosemary sprig!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Thanks, lady! Rosemary added a nice herbal quality to break up all that sweetness. It really made me happy. I hope your day and my day gets less gray. It’s very gray outside here.

  • http://www.scarlettabakes.com Meagan

    You rock jamming lady!

    I love the little jars that you used to store your preserves, and I double-love the addition of rosemary in this recipe.

    Just awesome. I can’t wait to try it!

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  • meg jones wall

    i know this post is old, but i just gotta say – i love jam, and i love gossip girl, and this post just made my day! i’m dying to start attempting my own jellies but i’m pretty intimidated. this is a bit of inspiration for me…i might have you get this jam book and start trying things out! thanks for this :)

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  • Wendy Jo McCroskey

    Living over a mile high in Casper, Wyoming I have a plethora of rhubarb all summer long. Beautiful, crimson red stalks were just picked this morning and overflowing a 10-gallon tub. And that’s only cleaning up two hearts with two more giant ones to go. My heart breaks for those who have to actually buy the red gold. I’m going to try the recipe this afternoon. My only question is, if they are sterile sealed, why store in the refrigerator. I need to make about 5 recipes and would like to save these for Christmas with my applesauce, raspberry jam and other homemade goodies. 

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Hi Wendy Jo! Thanks for your note here. If you want to can and preserve the jam, you would need to use regular lemons, not Meyer lemons (as there’s not enough acidity in the Meyer lemons for preservation, from what I’ve been told). The rhubarb syrup has no acid in it at all, so I would definitely and a bit if you want to preserve it for a longer period. Good luck and enjoy!

  • JamminJenny

    I made some pear jam that turned out more like syrup. Can I turn the syrup into jam?

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