Home-canned rhubarb is really useful to have on hand for use in cakes, cheesecakes, cobblers, crumbles, custards, flans, pies, puddings, muffins, and even in other canning recipes such as pie fillings and chutneys that call for rhubarb. As well, storing lots of rhubarb chunks frozen in the frozen can be a challenge, as it’s very bulky: storing it as plain canned is very space efficient.
USDA directions for home canning stewed rhubarb with sugar are over at the National Center.
The following directions are how to can plain, stewed rhubarb without sugar. Rhubarb presents a challenge in that sugar draws out the liquid needed to start the whole prepping procedure off. We’ve come up with a way around that. These directions follow the USDA methods exactly except for one preparation deviation: instead of using a truckload of sugar to draw liquid for canning out of the rhubarb, the rhubarb is frozen first to soften it and release the juices needed for canning.
Being plain, with no added sugar, gives rhubarb maximum flexibility for future use.
You need to start this recipe at least half-a day ahead, or, overnight.
P.S. Yes it is fine to can fruit without added sugar.
Quantities of rhubarb needed
Numbers are approximate guidelines.
On average, as a very rough guideline, expect to need about 800 g (1.5 lbs) of rhubarb per 1 litre (US quart) jar of canned rhubarb pieces. About 400 g ( 3/4 lb) per 1/2 litre (US pint) jars.
- 5 kg (10.5 lbs) of rhubarb stalks = 7 litres (US quarts) canned rhubarb
- 3 kg (7 lbs ) of rhubarb stalks = 9 x 1/2 litres (US pints) canned rhubarb
- 1 lug = 13 kg (28 lbs) = 14 to 28 litres (US quarts) canned rhubarb
400g / 3/4 pound of rhubarb stalks (leaves trimmed away) = 4 large or 8 small stalks = 4 cups (1 US quart) raw chopped into 2 cm (1 inch) pieces = 2 cups cut and cooked = 1 pint jar
To use a jar of home canned rhubarb in recipes calling for starting from fresh rhubarb, follow this guideline: a 1/2 litre (1 pint) jar = 4 cups / 400 g raw, chopped = 4 large stalks, or 8 small stalks
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning or pressure canning
Headspace: 2 cm (1 inch)
Processing time: Either size jar, 15 minutes.
Serving size: 250 ml (8 oz / 1 cup)
Fat: .4 g
- Trim off and discard leaves. Wash stalks; cut into pieces about 3 cm (1 inch) in size. This is a rough guide; no need to be exact.
- Put the rhubarb to be canned in a bag or container and put in the freezer. Let freeze for 6 to 8 hours, or, overnight.
- Put the rhubarb in a microwave-safe jug or bowl, and zap in microwave just enough to mostly thaw it -- don't cook. About 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Lots of liquid should come out.
- Put the rhubarb solids PLUS the liquid in a large-enough pot on the stove.
- Heat slowly and gently to boiling.
- When it is boiling, the rhubarb will have been heated enough for packing. Don't cook it past that. You want stewed rhubarb pieces, not syrup..
- Pack the boiling hot rhubarb into ready jars, trying to ensure that each scoop has a roughly equivalent amount of solids and juice.
- Leave 2 cm (1/2 inch) headspace.
- Debubble, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner or pressure canner.
- Process either half-litre (US pint) or litre (US quart) jars for 15 minutes. Increase time as needed for your altitude.
The freezing breaks down the cell walls and releases the juice -- replacing the function of what white refined sugar would do.
Pressure canning process
The USDA also offers a pressure canning process. See here for pressure-canning rhubarb time and pressures.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
Rhubarb – Stewed. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2009. Page 2-22.
Modifications made: Swapped sugar out, replaced with freezer stage to release juice
Serving size: 250 ml (About 1/2 of a drained 1/2 litre / US pint jar).
Per 250 ml: 42 calories, 8 mg sodium
Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 200 g = 0 points (rhubarb with no additives is free on Weight Watchers.)
* Nutrition info provided by http://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.