Can Jam #5: “Rhubarb” & “Asparagus”– Jam, Cordial, BBQ Sauce & Pickled Asparagus

I went a little overboard this month for Tigress’ Can Jam. Sarah of Toronto Tasting Notes got to pick the focus – she opted for Rhubarb and Asparagus. I would have canned rhubarb anyway, so I thought that wasn’t really a challenge. Thus, I decided to can asparagus, too.

Rhubarb Lime Jam

I adapted a recipe from our fellow can jammer Gloria‘s  book “Fruits of the Earth”. The jam is awesome! The combination of rhubarb with lime is something I never would have thought of, but this is my new go-to recipe for rhubarb jam!


  • 2 1/4 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into short lengths
  • finely grated zest and juice of 3 limes (I used 4 limes)
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar (I used 3 cups)


  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, cover with a plate and leave for 1 hour.
  2. Pour the contents of the bowl into a big pot and stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat and bring just to a simmer, then remove from heat. Pour everything into a glass or ceramic bowl, cover with a piece of waxed paper pushed down onto the surface and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, pour the contents of the bowl back into the big pot and stir over low heat until all the sugar has dissovled, then turn up the heat and boil rapidly to reach setting point.
  4. Pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
  5. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Rhubarb Cordial

It’s very easy to render juice from rhubarb, so I thought it would be a nice idea to make Rhubarb Cordial. I’ve been canning rhubarb for a couple of years already, but have never tried making a cordial. I used a recipe printed in “The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves” by Linda Ziedrich. This makes a very refreshing drink when you mix one part of the cordial with two parts chilled water. YUM!

Before you can make the cordial, you have to make rhubarb juice. If you don’t have a steam juicer, you can use the jelly-bag method. You heat the trimmed rhubarb pieces in a pot, with a little water added, and strain the juice through a jelly bag.


  • rhubarb juice
  • sugar


  1. Measure the volume of the rhubarb juice.
  2. Pour the juice into a saucepan, and add 1/2 cup sugar for each pint of juice.
  3. Heat the mixture to a boil and boil it for 1 minute
  4. Pour the mixture into pint or quart mason jars.
  5. Add lids and rings, and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

I was flipping through the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” and was very surprised to find a BBQ sauce with rhubarb as the main ingredient. As I have never made a BBQ sauce before I thought this would be a nice premiere. Well, this sauce is an acquired taste, I’d say. VERY sweet and kind of weird. It was ok on plain chicken that we put on the grill, but I wouldn’t make it again.


  • 8 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 3 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Combine rhubarb, brown sugar, raisins, onion, vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial BBQ sauce, about 30 minutes.
  2. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars and close the jars.
  3. Place jars in canner and process for 15 minutes.

Pickled Asparagus

As I mentioned above, I was intending to can rhubarb this month anyway, so I thought it would be interesting for me to can asparagus. I absolutely LOVE asparagus, but I don’t like pickles at all (except for cornichons). So I knew it would be kind of tricky. I found a recipe in Eugenia Bone’s “Well Preserved” for pickled asparagus which she also offered a recipe for using it up: Pickled Asparagus with Eggs. The picture of the recipe looked rather appealing, and thus I got everything ready for pickling asparagus. I should have trusted my gut feeling!!! I just don’t like pickles! And it almost brings tears to my eyes when I think of the wonderful local asparagus that is pickled now and which I don’t like at all. It’s SOUR and SALTY!


  • 5 lb asparagus (I used white asparagus because it’s a lot more popular in Germany and so much tastier than green asparagus)
  • 2 1/4 cup white wine vinegar with 5% acidity
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds


  1. Trim the asparagus to fit very snugly standing upright in a pint jar.
  2. Place about 2 inches of water in a shallow pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place asparagus into the pan and bring water back to a boil. Remove asparagus and run the under cold water. Set aside.
  3. Combine vinegar, salt, garlic, dill seed, hot red pepper flakes, allspice, cumin, and coriander in a saucepan with 2 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the salt. Do not boil past the point where the salt has dissolved.
  4. Pack asparagus into prepared jars upright (I placed them with the tips down so that the tips wouldn’t break when you take out the asparagus spears). You have to wedge the asparagus in, or they will bob above the rim once you add the vinegar solution.
  5. Fill jars with vinegar solution, enough to cover the asparagus. Allow another 1/2 inch of headspace above the vinegar solution. Distribute the spices among the jars.
  6. Close the jars and process for 10 minutes.
  7. Allow the jars to cool, untouched, for 4-6 hours. Don’t leave the jars in the water to cool, or the asparagus will overcook.
  8. Allow the asparagus to season in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks, after which they will be good for a year.

Pickled Asparagus with Eggs


  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
  • 12 Pickled Asparagus spears
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel the eggs and slice or chop.
  2. Arrange the asparagus on serving plates and sprinkle the egg on top.
  3. Dribble with extra virgin olive oil, enough to make the dish glisten, and season to taste.

My verdict: 2 good and 2 not so good recipes. That’s 50% success – which is acceptable for me. On to new adventures! If you have tons of rhubarb and don’t know what to do with it, check out my recipes for Rhubarb Vanilla Jam and Rhubarb Muffins.


17 responses to “Can Jam #5: “Rhubarb” & “Asparagus”– Jam, Cordial, BBQ Sauce & Pickled Asparagus

  1. You’ve covered every option here, fantastic. So pleased you are enjoying the rhubarb & lime jam. I think that combo works really well. I once visited a kitchen factory in Germany and we were given white asparagus as a gift. You don’t find it in the UK. Is it blanched as it grows? I too was tempted by Eugenia Bone’s pickled asparagus but love asparagus too much to want to pickle it. Glad you did it on my behalf. See you next month.

    • “White asparagus comes the deprivation of light. Dirt is kept mounded around the emerging stalk, depriving it of light. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll without light, thus there is no green color to the stalks. White asparagus is considered to be slightly milder in flavor and a bit more tender than green asparagus.”

  2. wow, how ambitious.
    i made those pickled asparagus last year, and since i do like pickles, i loved them. maybe you can find someone to trade them with for something you will enjoy more! and you are right the recipe i used for the chutney was quite similar to your bbq sauce, there is a good deal more vinegar though which might be why it was not so sweet. and of course we might just have totally different sences of what is sweet!
    i’m planning on making rhubarb cordial this weekend: both yours and the tigresses’ look great!

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Can Jam #5: “Rhubarb” & “Asparagus”– Jam, Cordial, BBQ Sauce & Pickled Asparagus « Family & Food & Other Things --

  4. I made that rhubarb BBQ sauce from the Ball book last year – however, I loved it! I did my usual amount of tweaking however; reduced the sugar, added in some honey, upped the onions & vinegar, and added habanero peppers for kick. Sort of had a sweet-an-sour Asian flavor, like a tangy plum sauce.

    Well, the good thing about a canning experiment – you can always find someone who *loves* it and (happily) give it away!

  5. I like pickles, but don’t like asparagus, so I passed on that option – good for for trying!
    And, yum does the rhubarb – lime jam sound good. I think I’ll try that!

  6. It is not surprising that you have four entries for this month, Andrea! Good work. I wonder: how was the set on the jam? Is it smooth or chunky? And too bad on the asparagus (5 pounds is a lot!) but as Kaela says, you’ve got gorgeous gifts for those who love pickles!

  7. Looks fantastic! The rhubarb & lime combo sounds good…. I love lime. And a cordial of anything rates high in my book! Super bonus on the white asparagus. I have an asparagus bed and was pondering experimenting with turning some white by hilling next year just to see what happens.
    Great job!

  8. Pingback: My Own CanJam “Asparubarb” Round-up | Grow & Resist

  9. Where did you get the jars for the white asparagus! They are just too cute. Nice coverage on the topic.

  10. You’re an over-achiever! I have to say the rhubarb and lime jelly sounds great, and perfect for me since I have a lime tree. But the cordials are gorgeous. Did you can them in those weck jars? They’re lovely!

  11. Pingback: can jam may round-up: rhubarb | The Hungry Tigress

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s