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How to Freeze Rhubarb

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Learn how to freeze rhubarb – step by step tutorial. Preserve that fresh taste of early summer to use on a cold winters’ day.

Rhubarb jam in canning jars on a white board.Pin

How to grow rhubarb

Rhubarb is a ridiculously easy plant to grow.

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It grows best in cooler climates, that go below 40°F in the winter and stay cooler for most of the summer. Optimum summer temperature is 75°F.

If you get hotter than that for the majority of the summer, don’t be discouraged. The plant may go dormant in these hotter periods, but keep it watered and it should come back when temperature drops, or the next year.

Rhubarb will grow in most soils, but prefers well drained soils and it does best in full sun.

It’s best to use organic fertilizers like manure, to feed rhubarb. High nitrogen inorganic fertilizers can damage roots. Mulch around plants to discourage weeds.

No insects of consequence, but is susceptible to crown rot in poorly drained soils.

Rhubarb plant.
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What is rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a herbaceous perennial plant (meaning that it looses it leaves in the winter and it comes up year after year) that grows in the northern parts of the US and Canada.

It has a bright, tart flavor that pairs perfectly with strawberries because of their sweetness, so you often will see them together in recipes.

It mostly used in desserts but there are savory applications where it shines as well.

Harvesting rhubarb

  • Do not harvest any stalks for the first 3 years to allow the plant to become established.
  • Harvest stalks when they are 12-18″ long. Timing will depend on climate. Be sure to always leave a minimum of 2 stalks on the plant.
  • To harvest, grab a stalk by the base and gently twist.
  • Best time to harvest is early to late June, in most areas where rhubarb grows.
Rhubarb leaf stalks (petioles) on cutting board.Pin

IMPORTANT!! The only part of the rhubarb plant that is edible is the red (or green and red) leaf stalks, technically known as the petiole of the leaf. Discard the leaves as they are poisonous!

What you need

  • parchment paper
  • chopped rhubarb
  • rimmed baking sheet
Equipment needed for freezing rhubarb; parchment, rhubarb, baking sheet.Pin

Step by step how-to

Wash rhubarb well. Cut off the thickest part at the bottom end. Chop rhubarb into 1 inch pieces.

Chopped ends off of rhubarb.Pin

Place in single layer on parchment, on a rimmed baking sheet.

Rhubarb in single layer on parchment.
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Freeze at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Frozen rhubarb on parchment.Pin

Grab both long ends in your hand to move rhubarb to center of parchment.

Grabbing ends of parchment to pour into bag.Pin

Just pour into freezer bag. It can also be vacuum packed for an even longer shelf life.

Frozen rhubarb poured into bag.Pin

Remove as much air as you can. Be sure to label and date the bag, so you know how old it is.

If your freezer is anything like mine, things can get lost in there for a long time!

Labelled bag of frozen rhubarb.Pin

Does rhubarb require peeling?

If you harvest the rhubarb at 12-18″ long, it does not require peeling. If you let it go longer than that, just peel the flat edge of the thicker stalks.

Can frozen rhubarb be used in baking?

Yes, absolutely, frozen rhubarb can be used in all of favorite rhubarb dishes. Some recipes may require a slightly longer cooking time.

Must it be blanched first?

I’ve found that blanching is truly unnecessary. Some folks are suggesting the texture is be better. I have not found this the case, since as mentioned above, it is rarely served raw.

  • If you would like to blanch the pieces first, get a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Set up a cold water ice bath in a large bowl.
  • Add rhubarb pieces to the boiling water for one minute.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drop in ice water bath.
  • Once cool, remove from ice water and place on paper towel. Pat pieces dry.
  • Then proceed with freezing just like the raw pack process above.
Slice of rhubarb pie on white platePin

Is frozen rhubarb safe to eat?

The short answer is yes, frozen rhubarb is perfectly fine to eat. There has been an old wives tale stating that frozen rhubarb can be poisonous. This is simply not the case.

But remember, the only edible part of the rhubarb plant is the leaf stalk, or petiole.

How long will frozen rhubarb last?

Freeze the rhubarb for about a year. It will freezer burn if you freeze longer than that.

Does it lose texture?

Perhaps, to a certain degree, frozen rhubarb gets a bit more watery and has less texture than fresh. Owing to the fact that most rhubarb recipes are cooked to soften the fruit, this is really a non-issue.

Things to make with frozen rhubarb

Use the frozen rhubarb in all of your favorite rhubarb recipes, including;

Tools I use

So next time you are at the farmer’s market, grab a few bunches of rhubarb and freeze some, so you can savor the taste of summer all year long!

Close up of rhubarb crisp with serving spoon.Pin

Want to learn how to grow your own rhubarb? These posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss our How to Start a Garden Series!

The first section is Planning Your Garden. Second is Preparing the Garden Site.

The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden. The fourth is Garden Maintenance.

The last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this article has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Chopped rhubarb on parchment paper.Pin

How to Freeze Rhubarb

Learn how to freeze rhubarb – step by step tutorial. Preserve that fresh taste of early summer to use on a cold winters' day.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: pantry item
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Freezing time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch rhubarb stems

Instructions

  • Remove leaves from rhubarb stalks. Discard leaves safely, they are poisonous.
  • Wash thoroughly. Trim ends.
  • Chop into 1" pieces.
  • Place on parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, in single layer.
  • Freeze about 4 hours or overnight.
  • Place frozen rhubarb in freezer bags. Date and label them. IT is also helpful to measure the quantity in each bag, for future reference.
  • Use frozen rhubarb in all of your favorite recipes.
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Notes

Do not use the leaves of the rhubarb plant. They are toxic.
Frozen rhubarb will keep about one year.
Frozen rhubarb can be used in your favorite baked goods, such as;
Rhubarb pie
Rhubarb crisp
Rhubarb jam
or in savory foods like this 
Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g
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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love rhubarb, I just wish I had some to freeze. I never pre-freeze it on a tray so that’s something I can try next time.

  2. 5 stars
    I love these helpful tips for harvesting and freezing rhubarb. They came at the perfect time. Thanks so much for sharing them!

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