Editor’s note: This recipe provides a nice break from the standard strawberry-rhubarb combination. It’s also a great excuse to try canning. If you’re new to making and preserving your own jam, Marisa’s blog, Food in Jars, is filled with excellent tips.

Photo by Marisa McClellan.

Vanilla-rhubarb jam
Makes four pints


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10 cups of chopped rhubarb (approximately 2 1/2 pounds of stalks)
5 cups sugar
1 cup Earl Grey tea (you could just use water; I happened to have some leftover tea around and it added a nice note to the finished product)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of salt
1 packet liquid pectin


Sterilize your jars in a large pot of boiling water. If you’re making refrigerator jam (it will keep nicely unprocessed in the fridge for two to three months), skip this step.

In a four-quart, non-reactive pot, bring the rhubarb, sugar, and tea to a boil. Add the vanilla bean, lemon, and salt to the pot and let it bubble gently for about 10 minutes (on my stove, this means I set it to medium-high). After 10 minutes have elapsed, add the pectin, stir to combine, and let cook for a few more minutes.

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At this point, dip a spoon in the jam and see how it coats the back of the spoon. If you get a nice, even sheet, the jam is done. You can also taste at this point, to see if you like the balance of flavors. Add a little more lemon juice if you feel it needs additional brightening.

Pour into hot wide mouth jars, remove any spillage, and apply lids and rings. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove from water and let cool.

It’s delicious on toast. If yours turns out more syrupy than jammy, serve with pancakes or waffles and tell everyone you did it on purpose.

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