Rhubarb Rose Petal Jam

Rhubarb is a very humble, highly underrated fruit, and until I moved to the great Northeast about 23 years ago, I wrinkled my nose in disgust at the thought of eating this stalk. Alas, my husband loves it, and I had to learn to like it, or at least cook it for him.

Then someone told me I could add sugar to it. Bingo.

Over time, and due to the addition of sugar, I’ve come to adore this humble greenish – red stalk.

Curious about what it’s related to, I went to trusty ole’ Wikipedia.

{Sorry, I have to take a moment at laugh at my own commentary about Wikipedia being trustworthy}

OK, I’m back. I’m going to actually trust Wikipedia on this one because if someone wants to add total BS about rhubarb online, well, that makes them a colossal whackjob, and me a colossal fool for believing. So it goes.

According to good ole’ Wikipedia, rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a species of plant in the family Polygonaceae.

The Polygonaceae are a family of flowering plants known informally as the knotweed family or smartweed—buckwheat family in the United States. The name is based on the genus Polygonum, and was first used by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789 in his book, Genera Plantarum. The name refers to the many swollen nodes the stems of some species have. It is derived from Greek; poly means many and goni means knee or joint.

See, I bet most of us learned something there. Rhubarb is oddly related to buckwheat. And it was thus named since the leaf buds look like knee joints, which they weirdly do.

Another fun fact: the article opens with this comment:

For the term pertaining to baseball, see bench-clearing brawl.

I had no idea rhubarb was a term used for a bench-clearing brawl in baseball, but indeed I learned something new today. We’ve already seen a few rhubarbs this season, in that case.

‘Course, Wikipedia could be bullshitting me on this one… who knows. Anyone?

Every year or two, I buy myself a canning treat in a new canning cookbook that looks to have unique recipes. Enter Better Homes and Gardens Can It! On page 89 is this incredible recipe for Rhubarb and Rose Petal Jam. I think this might have been the singular recipe I wanted from this book.

There are other insanely great canning recipes in the book which I would suggest if you purchase said text; however, BH&G loving put this jam recipe online, as well, for those who might simply dabble in canning. Or might be lucky enough to have a large, pesticide free rose garden at their disposal.

This recipe only gets 3 1/2 stars, but I can’t access the reviews unless I subscribe, and bloody hell, I already get WAAAAAYYYYY too much spam marketing emails as it is. I wonder if some of the low star ratings come from the fact that finding edible or organic rose petals is extremely difficult.

If you’re interested in making this jam…No worry…I have several hacks that will save you hassle, time, and create a gorgeous result. Just keep reading…

Truth is, this is one of my personal fav jams. It’s genuinely special because what the rose does for this jam, or any food in which rose is an ingredient. For me, rose has an olfactory response far more than an actual flavor. This jam gives you a tart/sweet texture on the palete, but a wonderful olfactory response of classic rose.

In short, gorgeous.

Besides, if I can impress the ole’ Austrian baker who runs a to-die-for nearby bakery with this jam, I think I’m doin’ pretty damned good.

Rhubarb and Rose Petal Jam


  1. For syrup, in a stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick 4-quart Dutch oven, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the water. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to boiling. Stir in rose petals. Remove from heat. Using the back of a wooden spoon, slightly mash rose petals. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Discard petals.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop rhubarb. In the same Dutch oven, combine rhubarb and the strained syrup. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for about 2 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Measure 4 1/2 cups of the rhubarb mixture; return to the Dutch oven. Stir pectin into rhubarb mixture. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining 5 1/2 cups sugar. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.
  3. Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.
  4. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.

My Thoughts After Making:

  • I’ve made this jam. Below are my hacks to create a stunning end product.
  • Always have your jars ready to go. After reading the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, you learn this awesome hack on sterilizing jars. Wash them. Then BAKE them! Trust me. 250F for 30 minutes. img_2738.jpg
  • The 1st step is to create the rose syrup that will give that beautiful olfactory response. It’s a bit of a tedious process, which is why maybe this jam didn’t get a 5 star. Get over it. Jam making it long and tedious. That’s why not too many people endeavor upon home canning.

Here are a few hacks to making this jam:

  • The recipe calls for organic or edible rose petals. You cannot buy these from a local florists or Trader Joes or Whole Foods, as all commercial flowers are treated. You will either have to go into your untreated (aka no pesticide) rose garden or go online. I’ve gone online and was able to find organic rose petals from CA. They pick them the day the order is placed, then ship them overnight. $40 for 4 oz. OK. I thought maybe this will be a jam I give to very special friends. But then the overnight shipping was $60. Ummmm. Just no. Hell no.
  • What’s the HACK #1? Dried rosebuds. You can get them at herbal shops, Asian markets, or online – just make sure they’re labeled edible or organic if you buy online. If it can go in a tea that you can drink, it can go in a jam. Interestingly, rosebud tea replenishes lost red blood cells during ladies’ “monthly problems”. These were the exact words of the sweet girl in the Asian market who said the final two words with air quotes. I still love her for it.
    • 4 oz will seem like an incredible amount of rosebuds or petals, but just do it. I’ve made this with less, and it still works, but the rose scent is obviously less…I only had a little over 2 oz today, and the scent I was looking for was of course muted. Present, but muted.
  • HACK #2: The recipe tells you to add the rose petals (or rosebuds) into the simple syrup and crush them and then strain them 30 minutes later.
  • DON’T DO IT!!! Wrap all those rose cuties into cheesecloth or disposable tea bags (both used here. Don’t know why. Just did.) Cut a big enough piece of cheese cloth and close it with a rubber band.
  • Smash the wrapped buds into the simple syrup. Don’t worry that the rosebud packages will absorb all the syrup, as seen here. img_8494.jpgAfter the 30 minutes has passed and the rosebuds have soaked up, aka infused, the simple syrup, you’re going to get your workout on. Don some disposable gloves, and wring and squeeze each rosebud package like your life depends upon it. With each death-grip squeeze, you will be graced with a beautiful red, densely rosy smelling syrup. img_7218.jpg
  • We will actively ignore any and all commentary about what this looks like, OK??!! [Especially since I just told you what the sweet clerk in the Asian food store said about rosebud tea…]

Once the life has been squeezed out of the rosebud packets, you will have your syrup and can start making the jam. AAANNNNNDDDD,  there is NO STRAINING involved…BOOMBADASS hack I made. img_2013.jpgWhile the syrup is macerating, chop up your rhubarb. They say fine chop… here’s my fine chop:img_1339.jpgWhy so large? They’re actually not that larger. I had massive stalks that could easily have been used as battle weapons. I sliced them in half, then thinly sliced them. If you’ve ever cook fruit, you know it will become mush under heat. Even the battle-ready thick, fibrous, stalky, humble rhubarb. Save yourself the time and thinly slice. Screw the chop on this one: IMG_0075.JPG

There is enough time to thinly slice your rhubarb battle sword and dance to a few tunes before you need to add the rhubarb to the rose syrup:

When you add the rhubarb to the small amount of rose syrup, you’re probably wondering how this will boil… ever. Have faith. All fruit becomes mush under heat, and rhubarb is no different – it will release what little liquid it possesses quickly. Just keep stirring. <In a Dory voice> Just keep stirring: IMG_7719.JPG

As the fruit begins to break down, the juices are released, and your boil will look so:

What does a full rolling boil look like? Put it this way, you will want a longer spoon, an apron, and maybe a welder’s mask. This concoction will attempt to boil your face off.

What does it mean to skim off foam? Use a larger metal spoon and drag it across the top of jam…the foam will cling to the spoon.

What’s a gal to do when she miscalculated the number of the jars needed? The recipe says 7 1/2 pint…I got 6 1/2 pint and this leftover…in a small container it goes, and then in fridge for my English muffin tomorrow.IMG_9012.JPG

Yes, this jam takes time…but then, isn’t there a saying along those lines…good things come in small packages and take time. Perhaps a complete bastardization, but nonetheless truth in this case.

Thumbnail image credit

AzaBaby Shower (1).pngThis jam is worth the effort.


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