Rhubarb & vanilla jam

Rhubarb & vanilla jam

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(50 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 25 mins - 30 mins Plus cooling time


Makes 3 x 1lb jars

Homemade jam doesn't have to be just a summer treat with this sweet-sharp seasonal recipe

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal44
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs12g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0g
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  • 1kg rhubarb, weighed after trimming, cut into 3cm chunks



    Botanically, rhubarb is a vegetable (it's related to sorrel and dock) but its thick, fleshy…

  • 1kg jam sugar (or 1kg caster sugar plus 1 x 8g sachet pectin - we used Tate & Lyle)



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 vanilla pods, halved lengthways
  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…


  1. Put a small plate in the freezer. Put the rhubarb into a preserving pan or your largest saucepan with the sugar and halved vanilla pods. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved, then squeeze in the lemon juice and increase the heat.

  2. Boil for about 10 mins, skimming off the scum as you go (the fruit should be soft). Test for setting point by spooning a little onto your chilled plate. After 1-2 mins, push your finger through the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready, if not, keep cooking for 2-min intervals, testing in between. (Or if you have a sugar thermometer it should reach 105C)

  3. Once the jam is ready, let it cool for about 15 mins before ladling into warm sterilised jars and sealing. Will keep for 6 months in a cool, dark place.

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Comments (77)

charlottemarriott's picture

I just made this recipe two times over to give as Christmas gifts. It's a good job it made 9 (irregular sized) jars as I NEED to keep one! It has an exquisite sweet/tart flavour.

The recipe is perfect - you don't need to add any water. I took Delia's advice and did not scoop scum off the top and just added a small knob of butter at the end to dissolve the foam and that worked perfectly. The set looks to be good too. This is a keeper for me.

Emilyrachel1's picture

Really really nice jam! Not too sweet or sharp. I didn't remove any scum and was perfectly fine.

gardener27's picture

Absolutely amazing jam! Will make it again. I followed the recipe exactly. Didn't add water, just started it on a low heat. It turned watery on its own.

I did remove scum but was sad to see some of the vanilla seeds go too. Doesn't effect the taste though.

etux's picture

This is so amazing! Where has this been all my life?!

It was so easy and quick to make. Having read all the comments about sugar not dissolving I checked other recipes and found this near-identical one which says to stir the rhubarb sugar and lemon together and leave for a couple of hours to let the juices seep out and dissolve the sugar. It worked perfectly and glad I did it that way as I think water might have made it quite runny. Only downside is it only makes 3 jars!

nicmac17's picture

Agree with past reviewers who said the recipe was easy, kitchen smells wonderful etc but was a bit concerned there was no liquid listed in the ingredients so I couldn't see how the sugar would dissolve or the rhubarb would cook. So after about 15 minutes of stirring on the heat and no sign of disolving sugar or softening rhubarb I took the decision to add some tap water, about half a cup or so. The rhubarb cooked & the sugar dissolved quickly. I didn't bother skimming during the boiling just at the end to remove the black vanilla pods as the flavour was already in the jam by then. Other than this I followed the recipe exactly! ;-)
The amount of sugar (I used Tate & Lyle jam sugar which has pectin in it) and vanilla pods both from my local Co-op. The vanilla pods were expensive (£4.30 for just two) but were fair trade so...
I will be making this again with my alterations as I'm lucky enough to have several rhubarb plants on my allotment and can only eat so much crumble!!

pemmy-jane's picture

My kitchen smells gorgeous!
This is the first time making this jam and it is perfect. Fantastic colour, having used Yorkshire forced pink rhubarb and 2 tbs of vanilla paste. Produced 900g of jam. Delicious!!

cdacn1's picture

Smells nice but I have had a little hicup. Like another review everythingbegan to weld to the bottom of the pan. Guess I must have had heat too high and possibly wrong sort of pan. Anyway, decided to try and save it by turning heat low & adding top of water. Seems to have improved but not sure end result will be jam as I know it but will be a tasty sauce to use with pudding.

Other than operator error receive easy to follow. Will try again.

feesmith's picture

This is absolutely gorgeous jam! I will definitely be making it again. Invest in good quality vanilla, it really does add to the flavour.

Debbiecbrogan's picture

I have made this jam now for a few years and I can't make enough of it! I'm lucky to have an abundance of rhubarb in my own garden so its a great way of saving this fab fruit. I find using one vanilla pod rather than two is just right to keep that sweet and sour flavour equally balanced and a way of making double quantities on a budget!

Rhonda.G's picture

This jam was my 1st attempt at jam making and it was amazing, it tasted just like rhubarb and custard sweets. This will be a regular jam in our house. Thank you for sharing this recipe x

petesfanny's picture

My first attempt at jam making. Did it exactly as the recipe and turned out fab. Will make again and again.

theredheadedcook's picture

I have made this twice - it's simply brilliant!

last edited: 14:23, 5th Sep, 2013
muddyboots73's picture

Have never made jam before - I LOVE IT!!!
Easy quick and simple. I used 1 pod and vanilla essence.

Alli's picture

Absolutely delicious! The vanilla really adds a gentle back-note to the jam. Not only great on toast but also lovely on plain yoghurt and even in Queen of Puddings. A recipe not to be missed!

nikkinoodle40's picture

Fabulous recipe. Incredibly simple with a lovely consistency. Tasted sherberty one I will come back to time and time again to use up the glut of summer rhubarb. Delicious

daviesaj7's picture

Presumably you add the pectin at the start or do you add it with the lemon? - it doesn't say in the recipe as far as I can see

daviesaj7's picture

Presumably you add the pectin at the start or do you add it with the lemon? - it doesn't say in the recipe as far as I can see

daviesx4's picture

Absolutely great easy to follow recipe, I love the hit of vanilla in the smell and the taste of the Jam. Only the scones to make now, clotted cream in the fridge...Happy sunny bank holiday weekend :)

kevlinbert's picture

Really easy and delicious. Next time I might substitute the vanilla with some fresh ginger for something a bit different but I'll definitely be doing this one again.

PurpleBee's picture

Wow this jam is so good! First attempt at making jam turned out pretty good!


Questions (2)

Hsquires's picture

Just made this jam, and it's still runny even after 25 minutes of boiling? Will it set as its cools? Also it is VERY sweet? I have a sweet tooth so it's fine but maybe next time I'd only add the one vanilla pod?

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for your question. You can test to see if the jam will set using the chilled plate test mentioned in point 2 above. If it doesn't set, then you will need to continue bubbling away. Changing the quantity of vanilla pods won't have much effect on sweetness. If you used a small lemon, try using a bigger one as this will counteract some of the sweetness. Hope that helps!

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