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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Fruits > Canning Rhubarb — Stewed: Step-by-Step Directions

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Canning Rhubarb — Stewed: Step-by-Step Directions


Suzanne Driessen

Clean: Food Safety Starts Here!

Wash hands for 20 seconds

  1. Wet hands under hot running water. Add lots of soap.
  2. Rub and wash back of hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails for 20 seconds.
  3. Rinse well under running water.
  4. Dry with paper towels.
  5. Use paper to turn off the water faucet.

Clean and Sanitize Sink and Counter Tops

  1. Wash counter tops and prep sinks with hot soapy water.
  2. Fill squirt bottle with 1 quart water. Add 1 tsp. of unscented chlorine bleach or ¾ tsp. of unscented ultra bleach-6% sodium hypochlorite. Or use commercially prepared cleaner per directions on label.
  3. Spray counter tops and sink with bleach solution. Let air dry.
  4. Wash hands.

Canning Directions: Boiling Water Bath Process

  1. Prepare Jars
    • Inspect jars for chips and cracks.
    • Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well.
    • Fill the canner half full with clean warm water.
    • Center the canner over the burner and preheat the water to 140°F for raw- packed foods and to 180°F for hot-packed foods. Use a food thermometer to monitor temperature.
    • Prepare rhubarb while preheating jars.
  2. Wash rhubarb
    • Wash rhubarb under running water (10 degrees warmer than the rhubarb). Scrub gently with produce brush.
    • You will need approximately 1 pound of rhubarb per pint jar. (10 - 12 medium stalks)
  3. Cut and Prep Rhubarb
    • Use a clean cutting board and a sharp knife. Cut rhubarb into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.
  4. Heat Rhubarb
    • In a large pan add 1/2 cup sugar for each quart of fruit.
    • Add rhubarb, let stand until juice appears.
    • Heat gently to boiling.
  5. Prepare Jars
    • Use jar lifter to remove jars from canner.
  6. Prepare Lids
    • According to research done by the Jarden Home Brands’ quality assurance team, pre heating metal canning lids is not necessary. To prep lids wash with warm, soapy water and keep at room temperature.
  7. Filling Jars
    • Ladle rhubarb sauce into hot jars using a funnel (jar filler).
    • Fill to 1/2 inch from top of jar (this is called headspace).
    • Insert a plastic utensil to remove trapped air bubbles. (Don’t use metal as it can scratch the glass increasing risk for breakage.)
    • Re-adjust headspace if needed by adding extra rhubarb sauce.
    • Wipe top of the jar rim with a damp clean paper towel.
    • Remove lid from saucepan with a tongs or lid wand and place on jar.
    • Apply screw band, finger tight. Do NOT over tighten.
  8. Load the Canner
    • Place filled jars in canner one at a time using a jar lifter. Make sure the jar lifter is securely positioned below the neck of the jar (below the screw band of the lid). Keep the jar upright at all times. Tilting the jar could cause food to spill into the sealing area of the lid.
    • Add more boiling water, if needed, so the water level is at least one inch above the jar tops. For process times over 30 minutes, the water level should be 2 inches above the jars.
    • Turn the heat setting to its highest position, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously.
    • Set timer for 20 minutes for pints and quarts.
    • Lower heat setting if needed. Be sure to maintain a gentle complete boil for the entire process time.
    • Add more boiling water during the process, if needed, to keep the water level 1-2 inches above the jar tops.
    • If the water stops boiling at any time during the process, turn the heat on its highest setting, bring the water back to a vigorous boil, and begin the timing of the process over from the beginning (using the total original process time).
  9. Processing Complete
    • When timer rings after 20 minutes, turn off heat and remove cover.
    • Wait 5 minutes before removing jars to prevent ‘spill overs’ and ensure good seals.
    • Using a jar lifter, remove the jars one at a time, being careful not to tilt the jars.
    • Place jars directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling.
  10. Clean as You Go
    • Wash dishes, utensils, cutting boards, etc. in hot soapy water.
    • Let air dry.
    • Put away items where you found them.
  11. Cooling and Storage
    • Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool, from 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.
    • Remove ring bands from sealed jars.
    • Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
    • Wash jars and lids to remove all residues.
    • Label with name of contents and date.


National Center for Home Food Preservation. 2009. Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit. Rhubarb-Stewed

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Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2015

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