Rhubarb and Jalapeño Marmalade

 Nothing says Spring like the arrival of rhubarb! 

My granddaughter brought be an abundant bouquet of freshly pulled rhubarb this week. It was magnificent! The beautiful, ruby stalks are frequently paired with strawberries, also in season at the same time, and usually in a sweet application –– strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp, muffins, coffee cake, punch, jam. Of course, you can use rhubarb with its delightful sourness in many savory applications, often as a substitute for lemon or an acid. Braised, roasted, grilled, with any number of other spring vegetables. Love it or hate it, it has a flavor like nothing else.

So pretty! The rhubarb stalks are colored from green to deep red. Harvest the rhubarb by pulling and twisting the stalks out from the plant, don’t cut them off! Pulling them out encourages new growth. If you cut them, it does not. Then, trim the stalks from the tops, the green tops are quite toxic, so you don’t want to include any of them in a recipe.

A balancing act

This marmalade is a delightful mix of sweet, bitter, sour, and warm. Each of the elements contributes to the finished jam in unique flavor harmony. I added the jalapeño because I had a couple of them in the refrigerator that needed to be used, and I got to thinking of a hot pepper jelly a friend of mine makes. I tossed it in the mix and was delighted with the outcome. The pepper only added a bit of warmth, but a delightful pepper flavor that blended beautifully with the rhubarb and the orange.

Let’s think about the color too!

I added a bit of wine to both increase the tartness to balance the sugar, but also for its beautiful color. The alcohol does boil out, but if you don’t want to use it, substitute a tart cranberry juice.

Enjoy this as you would any marmalade. It is delicious served with goat cheese on crackers or slices of baguette, smeared on an English muffin, or used as a topping for ice cream or even salmon or tofu. 

You can either store this in the refrigerator, or process it in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to make it shelf-stable. I was too busy for that step, so I refrigerated mine and will hand them out as spring gifts to my rhubarb-loving friends and family!

Rhubarb and Jalapeño Pepper Marmalade

  • 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 
  • 3 oranges, peel and flesh
  • 1 – 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 firm green apple, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 7 cups sugar

Slice the rhubarb stalks thinly and place in a large pot.

 Now, the oranges. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips. Cut any large peelings into ¼-inch strips. Remove the white pith, then section and seed the flesh. Place the peelings and flesh into the pot along with the jalapeño, apple, wine, and sugar.

Place the pot over medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every now and then, it doesn’t need a lot of fussing. 

While the marmalade is simmering, place a small glass plate in the freezer, an old kitchen trick. After 45 minutes, you take out the plate and add a dab of the jam. It will cool almost instantly, and you will be able to gage how much your jam has jelled. If it is still runny, cook a little longer.

Place in jars you have run through the dishwasher, and refrigerate, or process in a water bath for 10 minutes to store on the shelf.

This makes about four pints. Store in the refrigerator, or give away these welcome spring treats!

A quicker version:

The actual hands-on time for this recipe is pretty short, the simmering does not need a lot of fussing. However, you can also use a boxed pectin to speed up the cooking time. Without it, the apple provides extra pectin for the jam.

Just place all ingredients in the pot except the sugar and add the box of pectin. Bring to a full boil, then add the sugar and bring to a boil again. When it is at the stage you cannot stir the boil down, cook for another minute. Place in sterilized jars immediately, and refrigerate or process.

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70 Comments Add yours

  1. Terrie says:

    Wow! You had me at rhubarb, and I’m completely wrecked with the mention of jalapeño. This sounds so, so good!!! What time shall I come over for my jar? 😉

    1. Thank you Terrie! I’ll be home after five!

  2. Stew says:

    Looks like a family favorite!

  3. NativeNM says:

    This is a recipe you would find here in NM. Sounds delicious!

    1. Thank you! If I run out of jalapeños, I’ll know where to go!

  4. Sounds delicious! You are gifted with the perfect combines and adds! Happy Friday Dorothy!

    1. Thank you my friend! Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Veerle MARIA L Goossens says:

    Waw. I can almost taste it. We can’t cultivate rhubarb in our garden. I definitely keep on trying xx

    1. Thank you so much Veerle! Keep trying, once it is established in the garden, you’ll have it always!

  6. Sheree says:

    This sounds delicious

    1. Thank you Sheree! It was really good!

      1. Sheree says:

        I may have to give it a go

      2. You’ll be happy!

  7. nancyc says:

    I’m really enjoying jam lately with homemade bread, so I’ll need to try this sometime!

    1. Homemade bread and jam, yum! Sounds like home to me!

  8. Why is it I can never find rhubarb?!? 🤔

    1. It hides under its beautiful leaves! You might have to plant some to keep track of where it is!

      1. Thanks for the tip. 🤔🍃

  9. BERNADETTE says:

    I just made 6 jars of strawberry marmalade today. I definitely need to get over my hesitancy about rhubarb and try your recipe.

    1. Strawberry marmalade sounds wonherrful too! Next time, just substitute half the strawberries with rhubarb, ease yourself in slowly!

  10. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been wanting to make marmalade with rhubarb!

    1. Well, now is the chance since it is beautifully in season! Hope you enjoy it!

  11. Carol Taylor says:

    I love the addition of jalapeno it sounds delicious 🙂 x

    1. Thank you Carol! it really does add a bit of unexpected flavor to the marmalade, but you can still taste the rhubarb and orange.

  12. I am such a boring cook compared to you. 🙂 I’ve never thought about putting these two together, but I’m guessing it is quite an interesting combo.

    1. I bet your family doesn’t think your cooking is boring! It’s home to them! this combination is pretty delicious. The jalapeño really adds a lovely flavor to the whole!

  13. I have never made anything with rhubarb 😱 this combination is so unique, I’m sure it’s delightful, and what a lovely gift it would make!
    Jenna

    1. Thank you Jenna! I’ve already given away two jars!

      1. Lucky recipients!

      2. Thank you! I love giving gifts from my kitchen.

  14. minametry84 says:

    I liked the words of your blog. Hope we follow each other.

    1. Thank you so much!

      1. minametry84 says:

        You are the most welcome, i would be more than happy if we follow each other

  15. Julia says:

    I love rhubarb and this is an intriguing use of it. I use it in scones and pies. My husband’s favorite pie is strawberry and rhubarb pie.

    1. If your husband loves strawberry rhubarb pie, he would probably love this as well. Not quite as sweet, but full of rhubarb flavor.

      1. Julia says:

        I am sure he would. He loves marmalade, rhubarb, and jalapeños.

      2. Then it’s a home run!

  16. sunisanthosh says:

    Sounds delicious! 😍

    1. Thank you! I’ve already given all but a jar of it away! May have to work on a second batch.

  17. I always see Rhubarb in my farms but no idea what to do with them. This Jam looks like a good place to start. Thank you for the recipe. And Orange peels sounds delicious.

    1. It’s a nice ease into rhubarb!

  18. Averyl says:

    I wouldn’t have thought of these two ingredients together, wow! Can you please recommend a sub for the wine?

    1. A tart cranberry juice would be perfect, both the acid and the color!

      1. Averyl says:

        Thank you!

  19. Judy says:

    Absolute genius! The heat of jalepeno and the citrus flavor combined with the tang of the rhubarb is a home run! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It really is a remarkable combination, and I need to make another batch!

  20. LuckyLoreley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m getting a lot of rhubarb by the end of the week and will definitely try this recipe. I love the thought of jalapeños and rhubarb. Do you think currant juice will also do the job instead of wine or cranberry juice?

    1. Absolutely! Currant or cranberry would be perfect stand-ins for the wine!

  21. Ally Bean says:

    What a great flavor combo. I love rhubarb. And this is the time of year for it.

    1. Thanks Ally! Rhubarb is begging to be used right now, and I oblige!

  22. Christy B says:

    My mom is going to give me a clipping from her rhubarb plant. I look forward to the recipes!

    1. What a nice Mom! Rhubarb is so versatile, a gift of spring!

  23. sherry says:

    this sounds like a really tasty and different marmalade. i like marmalade to be very tart, so this looks the bomb.

    1. I’m with you on the tart! I want my marmalade to be a little bitter as well.

  24. That sounds delicious. I have used the old trick of an apple instead of pectin and it works fine. I also put a plate in the freezer and use that trick as well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you! These old tricks are still the best, aren’t they? Tried and true. i actually find the plate-in-the-freezer trick works better than using the candy thermometer!

  25. I somehow skipped this post. Love this original and appetizing way of using rhubarb. On my list to try soon! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! It’s easy to miss posts. I was gone for four days this week and catching up is often hard to do. I really love this recipe, little additions can make such a big difference.

      1. Better late than never! 🙂

  26. Fergy. says:

    What an utterly inspired combination, brilliant. It sounds absolutely gorgeous.

    1. Thank you so much Fergy! It was one of those combinations that I was delighted with with the first taste!

  27. I love rhubarb and this sounds amazing!!

    Mollie

    1. Thanks Mollie! It’s really good! The flavor of spring.

  28. petespringerauthor says:

    Looks great, Dorothy! We used to grow rhubarb in our garden when I was a kid living in the Dakotas. I never had much of a taste for it at the time, but I also am aware that my tastes have changed over the years. For example, I used to not like fish, and now it is one of my favorite foods.

    The mention of jalapenos in your recipe makes me think of a great children’s story called Jalapeno Bagels. It was written by Natasha Wing, a lady who worked at my elementary school for a couple of years. It’s about a kid who doesn’t know what to bring for International Day at school. In the end, he brings jalapeno bagels because he thinks the bagels represent that he is a combination of ingredients (from his mom and dad). https://www.librarything.com/work/1980647/reviews/154772820

    1. Thanks Pete! I will definitely look for the Jalapeño Bagels book! Sounds like a fun read for my granddaughter! PS I’m glad you like fish now! So many possibilities!

  29. Carol Taylor says:

    Such beautiful rhubarb and recipe ..I wish I could get it here…

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