Rhubarb Jelly

by autumn on June 10, 2011

In college, I took a class called “Physics for Poets.” It was the class all the liberal arts majors took to fill their lab requirement. Basically, it was a cliffsnotes version of the major concepts in physics that spared the artsy kids all that pesky math.

Much to my surprise, I got really psyched about quantum mechanics. I watched Nova instead of studying for my midterm, read some Brian Greene, and even wrote a couple of wildly unsuccessful physics poems.

I latched onto the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal, which my 20-year-old mind interpreted very liberally to mean something like “the more you know, the less you know,” making it applicable to basically everything. I got to the point where I could relate pretty much anything to the Uncertainty Principle. It was a little like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, except with pseudo-science.

For example, I could tell you about this rhubarb jelly and how the very act of figuring out what you want to do with your rhubarb, somehow makes you further from figuring out what you want to do with your rhubarb. How after finally deciding absolutely on chutney, somehow you end up with a pie; you’ll need more rhubarb.

This jelly defies rhubarb physics. It won’t be a decision. You’ll need to make this jelly and you’ll make it. It will be a perfect, peachy-pink, but you’ll still need more rhubarb.

Sparkling Rhubarb Jelly
Recipe excerpted from Put ’em Up! (c) by Sherri Brooks Vinton, used with permission from Storey Publishing. (Thanks, Storey!)

2 lbs rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
2 teaspoons calcium water (included in the Pomona Box)


1. Combine the rhubarb and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan and simmer until the rhubarb falls apart, about 10 minutes.

2. Hang a jelly bag or set a colander lined with several layers of damp cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour fruit mixture into the jelly bag and let drain, refrigerated, overnight.

3. Bring 1 cup water to a boil, and then pour it over the pulp in the jelly bag to release any remaining juice. Drain for an additional 30 minutes. Discard pulp.

4. Combine sugar and pectin in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

5. Measure 2 cups rhubarb juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the calcium water. Pour in the sugar-pectin mixture, stirring to dissolve. Return to a boil, and then remove from the heat. Skim off any foam.


Refrigerate: Ladle into bowls or jars. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Can: Use the boiling-water method. Ladle into clean, hot 4-ounce or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Release trapped air. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hrs. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy S June 10, 2011 at 6:15 am

Love it.. so great looking!


2 autumn June 10, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thanks, Cindy!


3 kaela June 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm

You know, I looked at that one (and good on ya for getting permission to publish!) and the “sparkling” in the title immediately had me thinking of adding sparkling wine. Cava, prosecco, vinho verde perhaps… there is *still* rhubarb thinking to do.

It looks gorgeous – but if you put in it a box, is it still really there? 😉


4 autumn June 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

Thanks, Kaela! And–oh my–I think you’re right on about the “sparkles.” 🙂


5 Lauren June 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

This jelly is such a gorgeous color! Makes me want to go buy some more rhubarb (I have some in the fridge for a pudding). As a History/French major, I took “Physics for Non-majors.” I learned so much more in that one semester than I did in two years of AP physics in high school! I was lucky to have a fabulous instructor who did crazy things like walk on nails and eat fire, which made getting to class four times a week easier! I didn’t even have to get my now-husband (engineering student boyfriend at the time) to help me with class work.

I haven’t canned yet, but I think I’ve finally convinced myself not to be afraid of it! I’m looking forward to scouring your archives.


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