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Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling

Prep Time:

2 hours

Cook Time:

15 mins

Processing time
20 mins





About the Recipe



  • 5 Pounds Rhubarb, sliced

  • 2 1/2 Cups Sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 Cup Clearjel or 1 packet of Sure-Jell


  1. In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Stir well to coat the rhubarb completely with the sugar.

  2. Let the fruit sit at room temperature and release its juice. About 2 hours should be sufficient.

  3. Meanwhile, get boiling water going for the canner and prepare jars, lids, and rings.

  4. Strain the fruit from the juice. Set the rhubarb slices aside.

  5. Measure out 3 cups of juice. If it's a little short, add water to make 3 cups of liquid.

  6. In a large pot, whisk together the rhubarb juice, lemon juice and clear jel.

  7. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. The mixture should thicken after about 1 minute of boiling.

  8. Add the rhubarb slices to the mixture, stirring to coat. Return the mixture to a boil, making sure to stir to prevent scorching.

  9. Remove from heat.

  10. If choosing to freeze, ladle into freezer safe containers, leaving at least 1 inch headspace.

  11. Seal and let cool to room temperature. Place in freezer.

  12. If choosing to can, ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1 inch headspace in jars.

  13. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Place lids and rings.

  14. Process quart jars for 20 minutes (pints need just 15 minutes), adjusting processing time for elevation.

  15. When done, remove from canner and let jars sit and cool.

  16. After 24 hours check seals, remove rings, label and store.

  17. Put any jars that didn't seal in the refrigerator or freezer to use up.



This is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients. Before you get started, make sure you have everything on hand.


Obviously, rhubarb is needed. A full 5 pounds of rhubarb is called for in the recipe and that makes just a bit over 3 quarts.

Harvest bright red, ripe rhubarb from the garden or when it pick it out at the store (like i did this year). Clean it well and slice into 1 inch chunks. It makes for a nice texture to have a mixture of stalk sizes from thin to thick.


The recipe as written has plenty of sugar while also keeping the natural tartness of the rhubarb in tact. Feel free to add more or less sugar based on your own personal preference (I love the tartness of the Rhubarb sooo I use a little less, always taste as your go!)


Lemon Juice

In water bath canning, the addition of lemon juice helps balance PH and keeps everything safe. It also helps balance sweetness.

Further, lemon juice adds to some of the thickening power by helping rhubarb’s own pectin gel more.


For canning, clear jel, a type of modified cornstarch is the safest way of thickening pie fillings. It is not considered safe to use regular flour or cornstarch and results can’t be guaranteed. Keeping a jar of Clearjel on hand for canning is always a good idea.


Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin is a kitchen staple for homemade jams and jellies. America's original since 1934, this premium gelling agent makes a great food thickener. Simply mix this powdered fruit pectin into traditional cooked or quick freezer jams to help your preserves thicken for the perfect set.

Adding Other Fruits

This recipe was specifically tested only with rhubarb. It is likely that other fruits could be added. Just have a total of 5 pounds of fruit to begin. Strawberry rhubarb is always a favorite combination, you may want to add less sugar to account for the natural sweetness of the berries.

Can or Freeze

Can this recipe in a water bath canner to keep it shelf stable. As with all home canned goods, use it up within 1 year.

If you want to skip the rhubarb canning process, freeze it instead. Simply put the filling into bags or jars, leaving 1″ headspace and freeze.

Larger Batch

This recipe does make just a bit over 3 quarts. Unlike jam, you can feel comfortable making a double batch assuming you have a large enough pot for 10 pounds of sliced rhubarb.

Jar Size

A quart jar is just enough to make one 9″ pie in my opinion. With that in mind, I canned the pie filling in quart jars.

However, one could can this in pint jars to use for other things, if desired.

How to Use

Obviously, canning rhubarb this way is ideal for making homemade pies. Simply pour a quart into an unbaked pie shell, top with another pie crust and bake.

That isn’t the only way to use it however.

Consider using the pie filling as a base for a type of cobbler or crisp.

Use the pie filling in some old-fashioned rhubarb oatmeal bars and rhubard cheese cake, classic pie, rhubard custard pie and so many delious things!

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