With a tart flavor, crunchy texture and a look that’s a lot like red celery, rhubarb is a stalky perennial veggie that’s commonly used for all kinds of desserts.
As a big fan of this veggie, (it’s my favorite for desserts and pastries!) it can be kind of a pain watching it slowly go out of season. Moreover when rhubarb has a lot of health benefits!
Since it isn’t available all year round, I decided to try freezing up a batch so I’d always have a bunch even when it’s no longer rhubarb season!
Сan you freeze rhubarb?
Freezing rhubarb is absolutely possible and is an excellent way to enjoy the wonderful vegetable throughout the year.
By following these simple steps, you too can preserve the freshness and tangy flavor of rhubarb to savor the unique flavors of this bulbous veggie even in the off-season!
What you need
Here are all the essentials you’ll need to preserve rhubarb by freezing.
- Fresh rhubarb stalks: Select firm, crisp and brightly colored stalks with shiny skins, free from any blemishes or signs of spoilage.
- Knife: Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears for cutting the rhubarb into smaller pieces.
- Cutting board: You’ll need a clean cutting board to cut up the raw rhubarb for freezing.
- Freezer bags or containers: Choose high-quality freezer-safe bags or containers to prevent freezer burn and maintain the rhubarb’s taste.
- Marker: You’ll use one for labeling the bags or containers with the freezing date so you can track how long they’ve been stored and consume them within the best timeframe.
How to prep your rhubarb for freezing
It’s super important that you properly prep the rhubarb before freezing to make sure its taste and texture remain intact. Follow these simple steps:
- Remove leaves: You’ll need to trim off the rhubarb leaves from the rhubarb stalks as they contain oxalic acid, which can be incredibly harmful if consumed in meaningful quantities. Throw away the leaves or better still, add them to your compost.
- Wash the rhubarb: Rinse the firm stalks of rhubarb thoroughly under running cold water to remove any kind of dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Trim and cut: Cut the rhubarb into pieces of your desired size. Many people prefer cutting them into about 1-2-inch lengths so their much easier to use for recipes later on.
How to freeze rhubarb
With your rhubarb prepped and ready, it’s time to get started with the freezing process! There are two main methods for freezing rhubarb: dry packing and syrup packing.
Dry packing method:
This method is ideal if you plan to use the rhubarb in pies, crumbles, or compotes, where the added liquid from syrup may not be required. It’s best for freezing rhubarb raw.
Step 1: Arrange the Rhubarb: Spread the cut rhubarb pieces in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I like to make sure the pieces don’t touch each other so they’ll freeze individually.
Step 2: Pre-freeze: Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the rhubarb pieces pre-freeze for about 1 to 2 hours till they’re rock hard. Pre-freezing prevents the pieces from sticking together when you place them in the final storage container.
Step 3: Pack in Freezer Bags or Containers: Transfer the frozen rhubarb pieces to labeled freezer-safe bags or containers. Squeeze out any excess air, seal tightly, and return to the freezer.
Now your veggie is safely stored and available for whenever you need some for your favorite rhubarb recipes!
Pro tip: Make sure whatever packaging you’re using is completely air-tight to avoid your precious rhubarb from getting damaged by freezer burn!
Syrup packing method:
For any rhubarb recipe that requires additional liquid, like rhubarb sauce or rhubarb desserts such as rhubarb compote, using the syrup packing method could be much better.
Step 1: Prepare the Syrup: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Let the syrup cool to about room temp.
Step 2: Pack the Rhubarb: Place the prepared rhubarb pieces into the freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some room at the top. Pour the cooled syrup over the rhubarb, ensuring all pieces are fully submerged.
Step 3: Seal and Freeze: Remove any excess air from the bags or airtight containers, seal tightly, and label them with the freezing date. Place the containers in the freezer.
How long will rhubarb last in the freezer?
Rhubarb, when prepped correctly, can last for up to a whole year in the freezer. It’s really important you make sure the plastic containers or bags you’re storing the rhubarb in is airtight to ensure its longevity in the freezer.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, raw rhubarb can be frozen for pies and jams. Just wash and cut the rhubarb, then freeze it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
You can preserve rhubarb by spreading a single layer of sliced rhubarb onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, letting it freeze until solid, transferring it into an airtight container or bag and placing it into the fridge.
Rhubarb can also be preserved with syrup or can be blanched with boiling water before being frozen using the method above.
Freezing rhubarb is a good way of preserving some rhubarb so it’s as good as fresh when you want to use it.
Just bring your desired amount out from the freezer and allow it to thaw before prepping it for your favorite recipes.
Rhubarb doesn’t need to be cooked before freezing. It can be frozen blanched, cooked or even raw depending on your preference and the kinds of recipes you plan on using them for later on.
Fresh rhubarb freezes easily and doesn’t even need to be blanched beforehand. However, blanching could help preserve the vibrant color and inactivate enzymes that reduce the nutritional quality of the rhubarb.
Yes, you can freeze strawberry-rhubarb pie. Bake the pie as usual and let it cool. Then, securely wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or put it in an airtight container and freeze.
Yes, you can use frozen rhubarb for pie. You don’t even need to defrost frozen rhubarb before adding it to the pie filling. Just incorporate it with the other ingredients; it will cook during baking.
However, frozen rhubarb may leak more moisture during baking. So make sure to modify your filling’s thickening agent for the right consistency.
By following these simple steps, you can preserve the unique flavors of rhubarb and enjoy its tangy goodness long after its season has passed.
So, stock up on rhubarb when it’s in season, and with a little freezing magic, you’ll have a delicious stash to elevate your recipes and indulge in this delightful fruit whenever your heart desires!
How to freeze rhubarb
- Fresh rhubarb
Prepping rhubarb for freezing:
- Remove leaves: Trim off the rhubarb leaves as they contain harmful oxalic acid. Discard or compost the leaves.
- Wash rhubarb: Rinse the rhubarb stalks under cold water to remove dirt and debris. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Trim and cut: Cut rhubarb into 1-2-inch pieces for convenience in recipes.
Freezing rhubarb – dry packing method:
- Arrange rhubarb: Spread cut rhubarb on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer, ensuring pieces don't touch.
- Pre-freeze: Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours until rhubarb pieces are frozen solid to prevent sticking.
- Pack in containers: Transfer frozen rhubarb to labeled freezer-safe bags or containers. Remove excess air, seal tightly, and return to the freezer.
Freezing rhubarb – syrup packing method:
- Prepare syrup: In a saucepan, mix 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water. Heat until sugar dissolves, then let the syrup cool.
- Pack rhubarb: Place rhubarb pieces in freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving space at the top. Pour cooled syrup over rhubarb to submerge it.
- Seal and freeze: Remove excess air, seal tightly, and label with the freezing date. Place in the freezer.