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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe (no pectin)

A recipe for Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam that does not use added pectin but instead relies on apples to thicken the jam. Instructions to water-bath can this rhubarb and strawberry jam are also included.

If this is your first time making jam, or if you need just a little refresher, make sure to pop over to my Jelly + Jam Making Basics, 101 post for an overview of making these two preserves. Just a warning, though, once you taste the first jam made by your hands, you’ll be hooked and will have a hard time purchasing commercial jams or jellies in the future. You’ve been warned! 😉

Everyone is familiar with the delicious little red harbingers of spring, also known as strawberries. But this recipe also incorporates the lesser-known vegetable, rhubarb. Yes, you heard that correctly. Rhubarb is a vegetable! The sweet-tart flavor profile of rhubarb plays well with strawberries. Some rhubarb lovers claim that there is a slight note of strawberry in rhubarb.

Strawberries and rhubarb are both late spring/early summer harvests, seeming to come into their own around May and through June.

stalks of rhubarb and a pile of strawberries on a counter next to a knife.

Does Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Need Pectin?

This recipe also incorporates granny smith apples as a way to thicken the jam naturally without commercial pectin. Both strawberries and rhubarb are low-pectin foods. Without the addition of some sort of pectin, your Strawberry Rhubarb jam would be more of a thin ‘spread’ than a ‘jam.’

I’ve never been a big fan of commercial pectin, as I feel it alters the flavor of the fruit I am canning. But that just may be me!

Instead of using commercial pectin, I will opt for thinner spreads or using apples to get a thicker jam. This recipe calls for 3-4 granny smith apples. In general, the tarter the apple, the higher the pectin in the fruit. Four apples produced a thick jam; if you’d like a slightly less thick jam, then go with 3 apples.

And you will note in the recipe that we use the entire apple, as the peels and seeds hold a good amount of pectin as well. As a result, I only use organic apples when I am canning. In fact, I try to use only organic fruits for my jams and jellies.

My process for thickening jam with apples is to wash the apples well, cut them into quarters, and peel and core them. Then I shred the peeled apple in my food processor with the shredding blade.

shredded granny smith apple in a food processor with apple peels and cores next to food processor.

Finally, I wrap all the peels, cores, and seeds in a cheesecloth square.

As this strawberry jam uses no pectin, apple peels and cores tied up in a cheese cloth pouch will thicken the jam.

For this recipe, I cooked down the apples with orange juice first to reduce the amount of time that the strawberries needed to cook. This helped strawberries and rhubarb keep their fresh flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken a thin jam?

No matter what recipe you are using for your jam or jelly, if you are not happy with the set of your jam, consider recooking it with a couple of granny smith apples (and don’t forget the peels and seeds!)

You could always cook your jam down a bit longer to get your desired set, but I find the longer that I cook my jams/jellies/preserves, the more I lose the fresh taste of the fruit I am canning.

As such, I will always opt to add a couple of apples as I feel that the apples don’t alter the taste profile as much as a longer cook does.Rhubarb in apples in a pot.

How long does canned strawberry rhubarb jam last?

Stored in a cool, dry place out of the sun, you can expect any water bath canned jam or jelly to last for two years. Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than one month. Some jams will last longer and a jar that is frequently removed from the fridge will last a shorter length of time.

Can you use frozen rhubarb and strawberries?

You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb and fresh or frozen strawberries in this juice from the jam. Of course, fresh is always best, but dont’t let the lack of fresh fruit stop you from canning. Make sure to collect and use the juice from the thawed fruit and add it to the pan with the fruit.

Ball half-pinted quilted jelly jars.

my go-to jelly jars

Ideal for fresh preserving recipes such as jams, jellies, sauces, mustards and flavored vinegar.

Water Bath Can or Refrigerate Your Jelly

Whether you water bath can or refrigerate/freeze your jelly is up to you.

Water bath canning is a method of preserving preserves, jams, and jellies to make them shelf-stable for up to two years. I walk you through the water bath canning process, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving if this is your first time making canned preserves.

To make your jelly shelf stable, all you need is an additional 30 minutes of your time, a water bath canner or pot deep enough to cover your jars by 2 inches, and Half-Pint Mason Jars with Self-Sealing Lids. A few more inexpensive pieces of equipment make your canning experience more enjoyable and efficient: a jar/can liftermagnetic canning lid lifter, and headspace gauge.

If you’d rather refrigerate or freeze your jelly

The only equipment you still need to prepare is your jars and lids. Just make sure that they are clean and freezer-stable jars. The best jars for freezing are those without shoulders, but instead are straight-sided. Mason jars are great jars to freeze jams and jellies in.

Follow the directions as written, ignoring any references to preparing canning equipment. When you reach the directions to ladle the jelly into the jars, leave 1″ of headspace instead of 1/4″. Place lids on the jars and let them come to room temperature. Once they are at room temperature, you can refrigerate or freeze the jars. Your jars of jelly will keep in the freezer for 1 year and 1 month in the refrigerator.

rhubarb and strawberry jam in a bowl and spread onto a biscuit.

Enjoy this delightful Strawberry Rhubarb jam on biscuits, toast, scones, or in your next Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. This jam also makes a great gift, especially when paired with a little spoon. I keep my eyes open for sweet small spoons when I am at Goodwill or an antique store.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe picture with a biscuit.

Strawberry Rhubard Jam (no commercial pectin)

A recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Jam that does not use commercial pectin, but instead relies on apples to thicken the jam. Instructions to water-bath can this rhubarb and strawberry jam is also included.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Canning Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Canning, Preserving, Jam + Jellies
Cuisine American
Servings 8 half-pint jars
Calories 97 kcal


  • 3-4 Granny Smith apples preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries preferably organic
  • 10 stalks of rhubarb about 1/2 – 1 inch in diameter, cut into 1/4 inch slices) You should have about 4 cups of rhubarb
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 4 TB Lemon Juice bottled or fresh lemon juice


  • If you will be canning the jam, Prepare a canner, jars, and lids. Wash your jars and lids. Sterilize your jars in a large pot filled with water. Bring the water to almost a simmer over medium heat. Keep the jars in the simmering water until you are ready to fill them. Use a jar lifter to remove them from the water when you are ready to fill them, dumping the hot water back into the pot when you remove each jar from the water. Right before you are ready to can, put your lids in a small pot or bowl with hot, but not boiling, water. Put some additional white vinegar in a small bowl alongside a clean washcloth or paper towel. Keep the water in your canning pot at a simmer while you fill your jars. See The The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving for additional guidance.
  • Place a saucer with 5 metal spoons on a plate and place it in the freezer.
  • Peel and core the apples, but reserve the peels and the core.
  • Use a piece of cheesecloth big enough to form a pouch to place the peels, seeds, and core and tie it closed.
    Apple peels and cores in cheesecloth.
  • Shred the apples using a grater or the grater on your food processor. I found the food processor much easier and more efficient.
    Shredded Apples and Apple Cores.
  • Place the orange juice and the grated apples in a wide bottom pan, covered, and heat on low until the apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Check from time to time to make sure your heat is not too high; basically, you want to 'melt' the apple into the orange juice. (I used my jam pan, which doesn't have a lid. Instead, I just placed the lid of another pan into my jam pan to keep the moisture in.)
    Jam pan with lid.
  • While your apples are cooking down, clean and hull your strawberries.
  • Working in batches, place some strawberries into a bowl or pie plate and use a potato masher, large spoon, or the bottom of a glass to mash the berries. (No matter how careful you are, you will likely get strawberry juice sprayed on yourself. Dress appropriately!)
    Mashed strawberries
  • Make sure to collect all the juice from your mashed berries and add the juice and the berries to your cooked-down apples, along with the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and your little pouch of apple peels/cores/seeds.
  • Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat and let boil, frequently stirring for about 15-20 minutes or until jam sets.
  • To Test For Doneness
  • Put a small dollop of jam on one of your frozen teaspoons and return it to the freezer for 1-2 minutes until the bottom of the spoon is cool.
  • If when you push it with your finger, it wrinkles a bit, then it is done.
  • If the gel stage has been reached, skim off any foam.
  • To Water Bath Process
  • Spoon your jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim.
  • Center lid on the jar
  • Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in a canner, making sure they are completely covered with water.
  • Cover the pot and bring to a boil
  • Boil for 10 minutes
  • Turn the heat off, remove the lid, and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Carefully remove jars with a jar lifter and place them on a rack where they can be undisturbed for 24 hours.
  • Refrigerate any jars if their lids don't pop down.


This recipe assumes some knowledge of proper and safe canning techniques. Please see the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance.


Serving: 1ounceCalories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 25gSodium: 1mgFiber: 1gSugar: 24g
Keyword canning, granny smith pectin, jam, no pectin, recipe, rhubarb, strawberry, water bath canning
Well, what did you think?Please rate this recipe here! It helps other readers and also helps to support our site.

If you have the strawberries, we have the recipes! This delicious and easy Strawberry Rhubarb Jam is added to the list of Great Strawberry Recipes that include Strawberry Puree, Strawberry Curd, and Strawberry Tartlets. And save a jar of this jam to make this Strawberry Jam Cake! (You are welcome! 😉)

But if you are just looking for a rhubarb jam recipe, I’ve got you covered there, too! Check it out!

On a related note, if you have gone to the Strawberry fields and picked multiple pounds of strawberries, make sure you protect your haul. Check out these kitchen tips to keep your produce fresher for longer.

Jars of strawberry rhubarb jam, one jar has a small antique spoon tied to it.

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this Strawberry Rhubarb Jam recipe in the future.

an image of rhubarb and strawberries, along with an image of strawberry rhubarb jam spread on a biscuit.
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  1. I make my jams in smaller batches using 2lbs fruit as it comes straight from our garden. I have found over the years that if we have a lot of rain while the bushes are fruiting, then the fruit also contains a lot of water – especially the raspberries. I peel and apple, in one piece if possible, and add it to the fruit and sugar. Then it’s easy to lift out before I pot the jam. Since doing this I have never had a soft set. Our favourite is raspberry and rhubarb, but I haven’t tried your strawberry and rhubarb yet , so that may well change! We won’t have strawberries for about another two months, so it is top of my list to try. We might have apples ready to pick by that time too so it should come together well then. Should also say I’m in Ireland so too early yet for me to be making jam but I always look forward to summer and making my jam, chutneys and fruit vinegars.

    1. Hi Rhonda, it sure seems that you have quite the orchard and garden…I am so very jealous! I’d love to hear what else you grow and can! I can enjoy it vicariously.

      Ireland is on my list of places I have yet to visit, but want to soon. Now that we are slowly opening back up, I hope to get over there soon.

      Have a wonderful day, my friend.



  2. 5 stars
    Decided to try making our own jam for the first time and this recipe was so simple, easy and delicious! Loved not using pectin!

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