Small Batch Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Rose Flower Water

May 16, 2013(updated on August 30, 2021)

strawberry rhubarb jam

Every season, I find that I become infatuated with a new flavor enhancer for my batches of jam. I’ve previously gone through hot and heavy phases with cinnamon, vanilla, lavender, and star anise, and though we’re still early in the canning calendar, I predict that this is going to be the year of rose flower water.

macerating fruit

Right now, I’m seriously into this small batch of strawberry rhubarb jam with rose flower water. It’s essentially the same recipe as the one I contributed to Food 52 last week, but with a smidge less sugar and two glorious tablespoons of rose flower water. It is fragrant, sweet, and wonderful on a nutty slice of toast (it’s even more divine if you spread a layer of tangy fromage blanc between the toast and the jam).

cooking jam

Before I set you lose with the recipe, let’s talk for a moment about what I mean when I say rose flower water. This is not the rosewater that one daubs behind her ears, nor is it the tea rose perfume was so beloved by grandmothers the world over. It is a distillation of roses that is designed for culinary uses. And when used with economy, it is delightful. If you have any trouble tracking it down, try the Middle Eastern aisle of an international grocery store.

One final thing to know about rose flower water. It is somewhat fragile. As you’ll see in the recipe, you should add it at the very end of cooking, so that you don’t end up boiling way its fragrance.

5 from 1 vote

Small Batch Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Rose Flower Water


  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rose flower water


  • Wash the strawberries and rhubarb well. Hull the berries and dice them into small pieces. Chop the rhubarb into segments approximately 1/2 inch in size.
  • Place the chopped fruit in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with sugar. Stir to combine and cover. Let the fruit sit for at least an hour, until the juices are flowing. I often pop the bowl into the refrigerator at this point and cook the jam the following day.
  • When you're ready to cook the jam, prepare a small boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars and bring it to a boil. Place three new canning jar lids in a small pot and bring them to a bare simmer.
  • Pour the fruit and all the liquid into your jam pot and place it over high heat. For these small batches, I like to use a 12-inch, stainless steel skillet, but any low, wide, non-reactive pan will do.
  • Bring the fruit to a rapid boil and stir regularly. Over high heat, this jam should take 8 to 12 minutes to cook. It is done when it is quite thick. You can tell that it's ready when you draw your spoon or spatula through the jam, and it doesn't immediately rush in to fill that space. It will also make a vigorous sizzling noise when stirred when it is finished.
  • When the jam appears to be finished, stir in the rose flower water. Stir until it is incorporated and cook for an additional 30 seconds. The flower water is added at this point so you don't evaporate all the fragrance during cooking.
  • Remove the jam from the heat and funnel it into the prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (start your timer when the water returns to a boil, not the moment the jars go into the water bath).
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them to cool on a folded kitchen towel. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the rings and test the seals by grasping the edges of the lid and lifting the jar an inch or so from the countertop. If the lid holds fast, the jars are sealed. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten promptly.

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34 thoughts on "Small Batch Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with Rose Flower Water"

  • I hope it is the year of rosewater! It’s one of my favorite flavors but I’m a bit cautious about deploying it.

  • I have always loved the idea of cooking with rose petals and rose water. I am unfortunately allergic. Not to roses scent wise. But I can’t eat them. I break out in hives, which is the weirdest allergy ever. But this looks amazing and like it would make excellent gifts! I’m jealous of all of you guys who get to eat this!

  • Awesome! I can’t wait to make this! I have made my own rose water and used it in jams before but I think it might be time to buy it. I think I would get a little more rose flavor.

  • OMG that sounds amazing. And it’s rhubarb season (and local strawberries will be out soon)… I know what I’m doing next weekend!

  • My rose is about to bloom, and I’d like to take advantage of the non-sprayed petals. Does anyone have advice about how to incorporate rose petals into jam, or any other ideas of how to use them?

  • See if you can make your own rosewater, it’s not hard. I make mine with rugosa rose petals, they are very well scented and also nearly always free of pesticides. You would need to ask around for them though, I would ask one of the rose societies for help finding them.

  • This sounds divine! My rhubarb plant has begun sprouting stalks, so as soon as they are ready, I’m going to try this.

  • I adore rosewater and this seems like such a lovely use for it! I’m plan to hold you to this year-of-rosewater thing because I can’t wait to see what else you do with it 🙂

  • I got your Food in Jars as soon as it came out. I absolutely love it. I made the strawberry rhubarb jam ( even made my own rose water). My husband said it is the best jam I have ever made!!!!!

  • it’s so pretty and it sounds so delicately delicious! Maybe I should try again to like flower-flavored things. . . my first taste of traditional Turkish delight was quite a bad shock.

    1. The flower flavor in this jam is quite mellow. And, you can always start with just one tablespoon if you want it to be increasingly faint.

  • Hi,

    I really fancy trying this, but Im in the UK and we dont really use the canning jars, instead just putting jam into sterile glass jars when hot. Do i need to do anything differently to make up for not doing the 10 minutes boiling in the jar?

    Also, how mych does it make so I can make sure and have enoughjars?


    1. Catherine, this recipe makes 3 cups. You can preserve it as you’d normally do your jams, but do note that because it contains less sugar than some traditional jam recipes, it won’t keep quite as long on the shelf. The boiling water bath method is simply the American way to preserve.

  • Hi, thanks for responding. Got some rhubarb in my veg box so I think this is a project for this week!

  • I have a bottle of rose water that I bought at a Mideast market recently. Now I have a great recipe that I want to try with it! Thank you!

  • so excited to try this. i have new neighbors on my block and i wanted to give them an old fashioned. the farmer’s market started up last week and i spontaneously bought a lot of rhubarb without the slightest idea of what to do with it. now i’ve got a plan! btw, i love your cookbook.

  • Love this recipe! I could only get one pint, but that was good enough for me. This is sooo good!

  • Made this today with lovely Oregon strawberries and rhubarb from the farmer’s market yesterday. It is just delicious and lovely with the addition of the rose water at the very end of the cooking process. Thanks Marisa for sharing the recipe. It’s a keeper!

  • Thanks for this recipe! I made a batch of your strawberry-rhubarb following the recipe from Food52, and added a splash of rose water at the end so one jar of jam is floral. Amazing flavor! I was singing to the farmer’s market man about rhubarb (which has been so hard to find here), I think he thought I was nutty. He might be right . . . Maybe if I bring him a jar of this jam, he’ll understand. 🙂

  • I don’t see any pectin in the recipe. Is this jam not meant to be prederved very long? Am I missing something?

    1. No. The reason this jam thickens into a serviceable jam is because of the small batch size. You would need to add pectin, increase the cooking time, and probably increase the sugar to make a larger sized batch out of it.

  • Is it ok to make this without lemon juice? All other jams that I’ve made have lemon juice for the pectin/acid.