I recently learned how to make rhubarb simple syrup because my rhubarb patch is epic!
It’s massive. It’s overtaking the yard.
But there’s one teeny, tiny problem: I don’t really like rhubarb. My Mom loves it, so she always takes some home with her. Hubby also likes rhubarb, especially in pie and baked goods. But I don’t even really like it baked into things. Last year we made a rhubarb jam we both liked, which encouraged me to experiment a little more with rhubarb. This year I made a rhubarb simple syrup and I might finally be a rhubarb convert because this syrup is DELICIOUS! Of course, it’s packed with sugar – basically it’s hummingbird food for humans, lol. But it’s so refreshing diluted with water on a hot summer day – and I can’t wait to try making some mixed drinks with it. I made three batches and canned them using the water bath canning process, which means I have a huge stockpile to leisurely enjoy or give as gifts!
Isn’t the color of this rhubarb simple syrup just so gorgeous?
Ingredients for Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 6 cups water
- 6 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Approximately 7 eight ounce half pint jars. Sometimes I had a touch leftover, so I kept an 8th clean jar on hand and then used up the extra that day. You can reduce the sugar if you’d prefer – but only if you don’t plan to can it.
Supplies for Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
- Large pot (to cook the rhubarb)
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Soup ladle or large serving spoon
- Large bowl (preferably with a pour spout)
- Water bath canner (I use a large pot)
- Eight ounce, half pint jars with new lids (7)
- Small pot (to simmer canning lids)
- Jar lifter
- Canning funnel
- Head space tool
How to Make the Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
- Chop up the rhubarb into small chunks
- Combine the water, sugar, and rhubarb in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil and let it simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
While the rhubarb mixture was simmering, I got ready to do the canning. I highly recommend canning this for more shelf stability, but you can also just pour into clean jars if you plan to use it immediately.
How to Prepare for Water Bath Canning:
- Clean your 7 half pint jars (hand wash or run through a dishwasher).
- Place them inside your water bath canner and fill with water above the jars (it takes a long time to get a pot this large to come to a boil, with my electric stove top anyway, so I turn on the element and get it started once my rhubarb mixture is simmering).
- Bring the water to a boil and sterilize the jars, at a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place brand new lids into a small pot and set aside – you’ll want to simmer them for five minutes before canning.
Straining the Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
If you’ve never canned before, there’s a lot to do at once so it helps to have a second set of hands. My first time doing this, I felt a bit frantic with the timing. But by the second and third batches I was so relaxed and everything went so smoothly. So be sure to read these steps before attempting the syrup, just so you can picture in your head the canning process and timing.
You can taste the syrup to know when it’s done – you want it to be thicker than water, with a thick and syrup consistency. By that point, the rhubarb should pretty much be mush. Place a colander over a larger bowl (a bowl with a spout helps) and line the surface of the colander with cheesecloth. Working a ladle full at a time, spoon over the rhubarb and let it strain. I set my cheesecloth aside once it was full and grabbed a fresh piece (three in total) to keep things moving along. Afterwards, I scooped the rhubarb mush into a Tupperware container (you can bake into recipes) and washed my cheesecloth.
The rhubarb syrup should be ready around the same time the jars are. If the jars are done first, take them out and set them aside but keep the water in the pot boiling. If the rhubarb simple syrup is done first, do the above process while the jars continue to boil.
Canning the Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
- At this point, you should have simmered your lids for five minutes.
- Remove them from the water and set aside.
- Once the jars have been sterilized, use the jar lifter to lift them out of the water and keep the water boiling in the pot.
- Spoon the strained rhubarb syrup into the jars, leaving a 1/2″ head space.
- Once filled, clean the top of the jars with a damp cloth and place the softened lids on top.
- Finger tighten the rings.
- Using the jar lifter, carefully put the filled jars back into the water bath canner, which should still be boiling.
- Make sure there’s at least an inch or two of water above the jars.
- Process the jars (boil them) for 10 minutes.
- Remove using the jar lifter and set aside to cool.
How to Use Rhubarb Simple Syrup:
Once opened, store in the fridge. Mix small amounts with water, carbonated water, or mix into alcohol drinks. It’s VERY sweet and sticky, so try a tablespoon first and experiment a little to find the “sweet” spot for you. The flavor is great: very sweet with a distinct rhubarb flavor. It’s refreshing and summery! If canned, these should last on the shelf for 1-2 years.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!