Rhubarb & vanilla jam

Rhubarb & vanilla jam

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(65 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…


  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, questions and tips

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13th May, 2020
This jam tastes delicious! The small plate is also doing very well in the freezer. Highly recommend!
nom nom
1st Sep, 2019
I've made this many times over the years. I found that when using vanilla pods, sometimes the jam's too vanilla-y for my taste (maybe because the vanilla pods were quite large). So, I've replaced each whole vanilla bean with a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste with the seeds in. Also, I had some bottled lemon juice to use up so used 3 tablespoons of this instead of a fresh lemon. I didn't bother removing the scum but added a fingernail-sized knob of butter, which worked fine.
24th Aug, 2019
I made this in the microwave - even easier! I only had 340g rhubarb so just made one jar. Used 200g jam sugar and 2 & half tablespoons lemon juice. Turned out perfectly./
Ian Marvin's picture
Ian Marvin
5th Aug, 2019
For those who were having problems with the fruit and sugar sticking and perhaps then added water, you can mix the rhubarb with the sugar and leave it for up to 12 hours or so which kickstarts the extraction of the juice. Even two or three hours will help. Then you don't need to add water which will require boiling off.
Stuart Lanigan's picture
Stuart Lanigan
2nd May, 2018
i was a jam virgin... not any more! easy and excellent..
4th Sep, 2017
Absolutely delicious!
21st Apr, 2017
Easy, quick, tasty! Would probably add either less sugar or more lemon juice next time though as it was still a little bit too sweet for me. Had no problem getting the sugar to dissolve though, just make sure you have a large pot and the heat on low. I also halved some of the broader pieces of rhubarb so the juices could come out easier.Will make again!
27th Nov, 2016
BEST JAM EVER! 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.
17th Jul, 2016
Really really nice jam! Not too sweet or sharp. I didn't remove any scum and was perfectly fine.
3rd Jul, 2016
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.


30th Oct, 2017
I am confused, does this recipe need water? If so, how much? You can't boil without liquid of some kind can you?
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. During the gentle heating at the beginning, the rhubarb will start to break down and become pulpy. Some lemon juice is also added. This is sufficient liquid for the recipe. Hope that helps!
12th Jul, 2016
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
9th Aug, 2016
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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