How to Freeze Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a great crop to grow in your garden. It’s easy to grow, and can be harvested as you need! Since rhubarb has such a short season, many people end up with too much of the plant before the end of spring. This blog post will discuss how to freeze rhubarb safely so that they don’t go bad before you use them!

Freeze your rhubarbs when it is fully ripe. The steps are simple: wash, cut into small pieces and freeze in the freezer!

Freezing rhubarb is easy and only takes a little prep work. Rhubarb can be frozen fresh or cooked. However, if you are freezing it for the first time, we recommend starting with cooked rhubarb because it is easier to use this way.

How to Freeze Raw Rhubarb

How to Freeze Rhubarb

What you need:

Instructions:

  1. Wash the rhubarb thoroughly and trim off both ends.
  2. Using your knife and cutting board, chop your rhubarb into pieces according to how you plan on using them in the future. ¼ to ½ inch is the ideal size for freezing.
  3. Pack the sliced rhubarb into a freezer-grade container directly or you can use the tray method to freeze the rhubarb individually.
  4. For the tray method, put your sliced rhubarb on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and put it in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, you can shift them into a freezer-grade container.
  5. When filling the freezer-grade container, you can fill it until it’s ⅔ full and then push out as much air as possible from the container as you seal it.
  6. Label your containers with the packing date so that you can consume them on time.

How to Freeze Blanched Rhubarb

What you need:

Instructions:

  1. Wash the rhubarb thoroughly and trim off both ends.
  2. Using your knife and cutting board, cut your rhubarb into pieces according to how you plan on using them in the future. ¼ to ½ inch is the ideal size for freezing.
  3. Blanch the cut rhubarb in boiling water for 1 -2 minutes. This helps in preserving the color and flavor of rhubarb.
  4. Then, remove them from the boiling water and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  5. After they have cooled sufficiently, drain the water and lay the rhubarb onto some paper towels to soak up as much of the water as possible.
  6. Freeze the individual rhubarb pieces by lining them on a parchment paper-lined baking tray so that they don’t clump together.
  7. When they have frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or container for easy storage.

Tips for Making Freezing Rhubarb Easier

  1. You can use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture from the rhubarb, before packing it into a freezer-grade container.
  2. Remember to set your freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum freezing.
  3. If you find the skin tough, you can also peel the rhubarbs before freezing.
  4. If you are harvesting the rhubarb, wear gloves so you don’t irritate your skin.

How to Pick the Best Rhubarb

When you pick rhubarb, look for something firm and crisp, with a red or pinkish color and no bruising. If the leaves are attached, they should be bright green and fresh-looking. Avoid anything that looks droopy. As long as your stalks are fresh and crisp, you can freeze them however you like.

How to Harvest your Rhubarb

Select few stalks from each rhubarb plant to harvest. Never take more than ¼ of the plant as it may hinder the plants’ growth.  look for rhubarb with thick stalks and a robust color in the spring. This is when it’s in season and at its healthiest. Use a small knife to cut the stalk near the root. Be sure to cut the leaves off. The leaves may seem harmless but they contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous!

Rinse the cut stalks to remove any dirt, but don’t soak them in water. If there are any overhanging stringy parts, just grab them and pull them off. These stringy parts can be tough and may end up making your end dish unpleasant. So it’s always best to remove them.

Now that you know how to harvest your rhubarb, you can use any of the techniques above for freezing it.

How to Store Frozen Rhubarb

Freeze Rhubarb

Ideally, rhubarb that is to be frozen should be fresh. Freeze it within a few days of harvesting. You can wrap it in plastic bags if you are not going to use it or freeze it right away. If you want to store the rhubarb for up to three weeks, put them in plastic bags and put them in the refrigerator. Freeze rhubarb only when you are certain that you will not use them within a few weeks.

A quick, less messy method of storing rhubarb is to cut off the ends and then slice/chop up your desired amount into one-inch pieces and pack them loosely in freezer bags or containers.

Blanched Frozen rhubarb can last up to 9-12 months in the freezer, while rhubarb that has been frozen raw can last up to 6-9 months.

How to Use Frozen Rhubarb

Fresh rhubarb is in season in the spring and early summer, so that’s when you can get it cheap. Freeze it using any of the techniques above, then use it throughout the year for baking, compotes, jams, and chutneys. Frozen rhubarb is also great to add with other fruits to make smoothies and frozen drinks.

You can add the frozen rhubarb to any cooked dish, such as stew or casserole. Remember that it is best to thaw the fruit at room temperature because adding them directly to hot food can raise their temperature suddenly, and above 40 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rhubarb

What are freezer-grade containers?

Freezer-grade containers are what you use to store your frozen food. Freezer-grade containers are made of thick plastic that can resist punctures and leaks, which makes them perfect for storing anything in the freezer. Containers for the freezer should be moisture and vapor-proof. This moisture and vapor barrier is what stops freezer burn, helps in preventing oxidation of the product, and thus, helps in preserving them. Look for containers that specify they are freezer-grade or freezer quality.

Are rhubarbs poisonous?

Rhubarb leaves have a very high oxalic acid content, which can cause kidney failure. However, you aren’t going to end up dying because of eating one rhubarb leaf. You would have to eat about 11 pounds to get that much oxalic acid! That being said, we still don’t recommend eating rhubarb leaves. Use the stalks of the rhubarb plant which are safe to consume.

Can you freeze sweetened rhubarb?

Yes, you can freeze sweetened rhubarb. For making sweetened rhubarb, mix about 4 cups of rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar and stir well until the sugar is well distributed. After that, you can go ahead and freeze the rhubarb and store it in freezer-grade containers.

How to tell if frozen rhubarb is spoiled or bad?

If your rhubarb is spoiling, it will start becoming soft. You may also notice some discoloring. If you notice your rhubarbs have a mushy or moldy appearance, give off a peculiar odor, it’s time to discard them. Always make sure that you are labeling your frozen rhubarbs with their packing date so that you can consume them in time.

Conclusion

Vegetables

Rhubarb is a plant that has been eaten for centuries. From pies, jams, and even wine – you can find rhubarb everywhere! Rhubarb season is the best but it’s also extremely short. So make the most of it, and freeze your rhubarbs to enjoy them throughout the year.

We hope you found this post helpful. You can check out some of our other freezing guides here.

Charlotte King

Over the last 8 years, I have been perfecting my skills in preserving food! From canning, to drying, to freezing, and brining, I've done it all. Using this information, I create informative posts on CannedNation to help you on your food preservation journey!

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