Spread the Spring with Rhubarb and Rose Petal Jam

A farmers market pro marries two flavorful seasonal ingredients for biscuit-ready preserves.

By Benjamin Tepler April 1, 2015 Published in the April 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Rhubarb rose jam iptjd0

Image: Michael Novak

The twin harbingers of a Portland spring—tart, juicy rhubarb and aromatic rose—make prime bedfellows in chef Kathryn Yeomans’s fragrant jam. The Italian-leaning cooking vet (she earned her chops alongside legend Lidia Bastianich and helped open Nostrana) is known for her hyperseasonal fare—be it at her occasional Farmer’s Feast pop-up dinners, as resident chef at Hillsdale Farmers Market, or in her local cooking classes. Every April, her punchy rhubarb-rose preserves are a sure sign of the changing seasons, sandwiched between biscuits, spread over pound cake, or spooned on vanilla ice cream. No roses in the backyard? “Trade your neighbor for some jam,” says Yeomans. “We are in the City of Roses after all.”

Rhubarb & Rose Petal Jam

Makes 8 half-pint (8 oz) jars

  • 4 lbs fresh rhubarb, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped; cores and seeds reserved in a cheesecloth bag
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups rose petals,* white tips near their base trimmed and discarded
  • 1 tsp rose water 

*By Any Other Name: Yeomans says any rose will do, so long as it’s unsprayed and very fragrant. 

Layer rhubarb in a glass or ceramic bowl with sugar and apples, including the bag of seeds and cores. Let fruit sit for 12 hours at room temperature.

Pour macerated fruit (including bag of cores and seeds) into a wide, heavy-bottomed 8-quart stainless steel pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Add lemon juice and continue boiling, skimming any scum that rises to the surface, until the jellying point (220 degrees on a candy thermometer) is reached, about 15–20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and discard bag. Allow jam to cool 10 minutes, and stir in rose petals.

Ladle the jam into warm, sterilized jars, add 1 tsp (2–3 drops) rose water to each, and seal. Process in boiling water (15 minutes for pints), carefully following your preferred canning instructions. (Get tips at Use within a year.

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