Recipe: Rhubarb and Cranberry Preserve

Our rhubarb, including all the bits of divided crown we planted last year, is doing really well – no doubt helped by all this dreadful RAIN… I made some of our favourite Citrussy Rhubarb Jam (a sort of cross between jam and marmalade) a few weeks ago, but there was plenty more to pick when I fancied doing some preserving yesterday.

One of the downsides of making jam with rhubarb is that it can end up a rather disappointing brown colour, which is a reason, I guess, why recipes for rhubarb and strawberry jam are so common. But of course, strawberries aren’t in season yet, so casting my mind round for other red fruits, I thought of dried cranberries and decided to have a little experiment. Here’s the result – I think you’ll agree the colour is pretty good:

Rhubarb and Cranberry Preserve

The flavour is excellent too – the cranberries are a really good alternative to raisins or sultanas, with a little bit of added extra tang.

Rhubarb and Cranberry Preserve


1 kg fresh rhubarb
900g granulated sugar
200g dried cranberries
100 ml water
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Makes about 5 standard size (1lb or 450g) jars of preserve

  • Prepare your jars and lids etc by sterilizing them (see notes).
  • Wash the rhubarb and chop roughly into 2 inch pieces. Put a large, heavy, roomy pan with the sugar, cranberries and the water.
  • Bring VERY slowly to the boil to melt the sugar.
  • When it reaches the boil, turn up the heat and allow to come to a rolling boil, and boil until thickened and the setting point (see notes) is reached, which takes around 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice
  • Pot immediately in sterilized jars, cover with wax paper circles and screw on the lids tightly whilst the jam is still hot.


Sterilizing your jars – the Very Berry method:

  • Wash jars thoroughly in hot soapy water or run them through a dishwasher.
  • Dry in a preheated cool oven (around 160C/ Gas 3), and make sure the jars are hot when you pot up the jam.
  • Soak the lids and any jam funnels or cups/ladles you are going to use to pot the jam in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

Testing for set:

  • Before you start making your jam, put a couple of saucers or small plates in the freezer.
  • The setting point for jam is 105C /220F – you can use a jam thermometer, or if you don’t have one, keep a close eye on the jam and you will see it start to thicken, and start sticking to your wooden spoon.
  • Take the jam off the heat when you test for setting point – you don’t want to over-boil it.
  • To be really sure, get one of your saucers out of the freezer (mind your hands – it’s cold!) and put a drop of jam on the plate. If it forms a skin and sets as it cools, then you have reached your setting point. If it doesn’t, put your jam back on the boil and test again after a couple of minutes.

I’d love to know how you get on with this recipe if you give it a try. I think it’s delicious – one of the great things about posting recipes is I always get to eat the subject of the photo after I’ve taken the pics..!




6 thoughts on “Recipe: Rhubarb and Cranberry Preserve

  1. Rhubarb is now doing well after the heavy rain and this recipe sounds really delicious and a must try. I love rhubarb and ginger jam so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this.

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