For the past six weeks I have watched our three giant rhubarb plants steadily spread their wings and grow, and grow, and grow in the back yard.

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With leaves so big they block the stalks like the canopy of a rain forest, I have been pulling them back and peeking for weeks at the progress, and now, they are finally ready to harvest.

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Last weekend I did a first cutting, and this weekend a second. Sunday afternoon I got to dicing and made a batch of rhubarb jelly, the first canning of this summer. I used this recipe http://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-jelly.html as a base but made some adjustments based on my previous experiences making jelly last summer.

Rhubarb Jelly

Ingredients

Yield= (3) 8 oz. jars

  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped into, small, 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch powdered lower-sugar pectin
  • 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine

In a non-reactive pan, combine the rhubarb and water.

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Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, and remove from heat.

Process the above mixture through a cheesecloth strainer, allowing juice to drip.

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***To prepare strainer:

  • Transfer liquid into a bowl and rinse out the pot you boiled the rhubarb in.
  • Place one layer of cheesecloth over top of the pot side to side and secure with a rubber band.

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  • Place a second layer of cheesecloth over the first from top to bottom and secure with another rubber band.

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  • Now place the cooked rhubarb on the cheesecloth and drain juice into the pot.

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Press firmly with wooden spoon to get out as much juice as possible.

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  • When finished, scrape off rhubarb into trash/compost and THEN remove the cheesecloth so there are no accidents in spilling rhubarb chunks into the juice.???????????????????????????????
  • Measure juice, and if necessary, add water to yield 1 3/4 cups rhubarb juice. I added another 1/2 cup water.

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Place three clean 8 oz. jars, discs, and lids in boiling water and boil hard for 5 minutes to sterilize the jars.

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Transfer to a dish towel.

In a large, deep, non reactive pan, combine the rhubarb juice and all the sugar, and mix well to combine.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

To reduce foaming, add the butter or margarine.

Add the entire pectin pouch.

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Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, and quickly skim off foam, if necessary.

Immediately pour the jelly into the hot jars, leaving about
1/4″ headspace at the top of the jar.

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Seal jars firmly and leave to rest of dish towel until cool. You should hear each jar seal with a “pop” within a few hours.

Place jars in refrigerator overnight before bed.

In the next 24 hours, your jelly should set!

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I do not boil my jars again once they are filled with jelly, as many recipes call for. I have had bad luck doing this in the past, where my jelly never sets, and I’m not sure why (I made some awesome cherry mojitos with my jelly syrup, though!) I also don’t leave the jars out overnight on the counter to set, again I have had set-failures doing this. Putting it in the fridge works for me–it sets up within the next 1-2 days doing this. In addition, I typically use 2 cups of sugar mixed in with the fruit regardless of how much sugar the recipe calls for, and have always had success doing this. I just can’t justify adding 3.5 cups of sugar when 2 cups can work. As for storage, I keep the jars in the fridge and freeze the jars I know I won’t use within a month. These tweaks are simply what works for me at this time, and at this elevation, it may not work for all.

By Noon today my jelly was semi-set, spreadable, yet still a little runny. I busted open a jar and ate some off the spoon and it was fabulous! I am definitely planning to make another batch.

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2 thoughts on “Backyard Bounty: Rhubarb Jelly recipe

  1. Wow! It is beautiful and what a great picture, easy to follow recipe! I think I will try this one of these days. How did you decided that the rhubarb was ready to harvest? I just pull it….and use it.

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