Freezing rhubarb is a great way to preserve this tangy and versatile vegetable for future use. It’s a simple process that can help you enjoy the flavor even when it’s out of season.
I always loved my grandma’s rhubarb pies and crisps, and now that I freeze it, I am able to enjoy these nostalgic recipes whenever the cravings arise.
In this article, I lay out everything you need to know about how to freeze rhubarb, with or without blanching, so you can enjoy it anytime of the year that you wish.
You can use it in any recipe that calls for fresh, for example to make fillings for baking, jams, or dessert toppings.
Preparing Rhubarb For Freezing
For the best results, choose rhubarb that’s as fresh as possible. The stalks should be firm with vibrant color.
Right out of the garden is best, but you can buy it from the grocery store or farmer’s market as well.
Rinse it under cool water to remove any dirt or debris, gently scrubbing the stalks with a vegetable brush if needed.
Cut the leaves and the root ends off and discard them. You can keep the stalks whole if you’re short on time, or cut them into 1-2 inch pieces, which is the easiest size to reuse later on.
Should You Blanch Rhubarb Before Freezing?
You don’t need to blanch rhubarb before freezing it, but it does help to retain the color and texture better.
Blanching takes a little extra time, and whether you choose to do it or not depends on how you plan to use your frozen rhubarb.
For example, if you plan to cook it down to use it for making jam or dessert fillings, then blanching is not necessary.
How To Blanch Rhubarb To Freeze
To blanch your rhubarb before freezing, fill a large cooking pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. While that’s heating, fill a large bowl with ice water.
Carefully drop the rhubarb pieces into the boiling water and flash-cook them for 1-2 minutes.
Then remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer them into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
Related Post: How To Can Rhubarb At Home
Methods For Freezing Rhubarb
There are a few ways you can freeze rhubarb, and I’ll lay out the options for you below. The method you choose depends on your time, availability, and how you plan to use it later on.
Freezing Rhubarb Whole Or In Pieces
The ideal way to freeze rhubarb is in 1-2 inch pieces, which makes it very quick and convenient to cook with or use in your recipes.
However, if you are super short on time, you can leave the stalks whole and simply place them into a gallon-sized freezer bag.
Flash Freezing Rhubarb
Flash freezing is an optional step, but it’s very helpful in preventing your rhubarb pieces from sticking together in clumps.
Place it in the freezer for about an hour, or until the pieces are firm to the touch, then fill your zipper baggies.
Can I Freeze Rhubarb Leaves As Well?
No, you cannot freeze rhubarb leaves. It’s a well-known fact that the leaves contain a poisonous substance, so you should never eat or freeze them. Always be sure to remove the leaves and throw them out, and only freeze the stalks.
Related Post: How To Grow Rhubarb At Home
Tools & Supplies Needed
You don’t need any special equipment, and you should have all you need already on hand in your kitchen. Gather everything together ahead of time to speed up the process.
- Quart freezer bags OR Gallon freezer bags
- Sharp chef knife
- Cutting board
- Kitchen or paper towels
- Permanent marker
- Vegetable brush (optional)
- Hands free baggie holder (optional)
- Large slotted spoon (optional)
- Large cooking pot (optional)
- Large bowl of ice water (optional)
- Baking sheet (optional)
- Parchment paper (optional)
- Colander (optional)
How To Store Frozen Rhubarb
Storing frozen rhubarb is simple. After you have filled your zip top bags, just lay them flat and stack them on top of each other in the freezer.
If you don’t want to use baggies, you can put it in any type of freezer-safe airtight container that you prefer.
How Long Does Rhubarb Last In The Freezer?
As long as you store it properly, rhubarb lasts up to one year in the freezer. You may be able to extend its shelf life by using a food vacuum sealer.
Below I’ve answered some of the most common questions about how to freeze rhubarb.
What is the best way to freeze fresh rhubarb?
The best way to freeze rhubarb is to wash it, cut it into 1-2 inch pieces, flash freeze it, and then store it in freezer bags.
Can you freeze whole stalks of rhubarb?
Yes, you can freeze whole stalks of rhubarb as long as you remove the leaves first. Although it is much easier to fit them into baggies if you cut the stalks up into smaller pieces.
Can you freeze fresh rhubarb raw?
Yes, you can freeze fresh rhubarb raw. Balancing is optional, but it can help to preserve the color and texture better.
Should you peel rhubarb before freezing?
There is no need to peel rhubarb before freezing. Simply wash it, remove and discard the leaves, and cut the stalks into pieces first.
Can I freeze rhubarb without cooking it?
Yes, you can freeze rhubarb without cooking it. Although taking a few extra minutes to blanch it will help to retain the texture and color better.
Should I cut rhubarb before freezing?
Whether you cut rhubarb before freezing it or not is up to you. Cutting it up first will make it more convenient to use later on, but you can certainly keep the stalks whole if you are strapped for time (always remove and toss out the leaves first though).
Should you wash rhubarb before freezing it?
You should always wash your rhubarb before freezing it to remove any soil or other debris. Usually giving it a quick rinse will do the trick, but you can use a veggie brush if there’s any caked on dirt.
Is frozen rhubarb as good as fresh?
Frozen rhubarb is just as good as fresh. You can use it in any recipe that calls for fresh without any problems.
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