There are several delicious dishes that use rhubarb as an integral ingredient, but it is not always in season. This means that many people think rhubarb is a treat that cannot be enjoyed in cold months. The answer to this problem is actually very simple, freeze batches of rhubarb and enjoy your favorite dishes all year long.

There are multiple reasons for learning how to freeze rhubarb. There is of course the fact that if you live in a colder climate, rhubarb has a restricted growing season. In addition to this, freezing food makes it possible to purchase it in bulk and save money. If you buy rhubarb from a particular farm stand or another location, you can cut down on your trips by freezing large batches for later use as well.

There are some cases where it does not make as much sense to freeze rhubarb.

  • Refrigeration – If it will only need to be preserved for a few days, refrigeration is more than adequate for the task.
  • Jarring/Canning – It is also possible to preserve rhubarb in jars or cans for longer storage, but this is a much more involved process than freezing.
  • Dehydration – The last option that is available for preservation is dehydration. This process is effective as a means to preserve rhubarb, but it can have an adverse effect on the flavor and texture of the food.

Rhubarb Stalks

Image used under Creative Commons from Emma Forsberg

Facts About Freezing

  1. Rhubarb is very receptive to freezing and can be stored for long periods of time. Under the right conditions, rhubarb will stay fairly fresh for as long as 12 months in the freezer.
  2. There are multiple methods for freezing rhubarb and the “correct” one is a matter of personal preference. This article presents the method that is usually the easiest.
  3. Upon thawing, rhubarb will shrink. This makes it important to start out with a large quantity so that it will still be sufficient for recipes upon thawing.

No-Fuss Method For Freezing Rhubarb

Some procedures for freezing rhubarb call for cooking or storing with a premade syrup. Both of these work well, but are quite a bit of extra work for a similar result. This method requires none of the extra work and provides you with delicious rhubarb whenever you would like it.

  1. Begin by inspecting the stalks and making sure that they are free of blemishes, don’t worry about the appearance of the leaves.
  2. Prior to preparation, remove the leaf from the rhubarb stalks. When this is done, chop the rhubarb stalks into approximately one inch pieces.
  3. Rinse the chopped up rhubarb thoroughly. This is important as it will make the ingredient usable immediately upon defrosting. Put the rinsed chunks into a colander and shake off the excess moisture.
  4. When the rhubarb is mostly dry, transfer it to freezer bags or containers. It can be helpful to measure the amount that you are freezing if you are planning to use it for a certain recipe. While measurement is not absolutely necessary, it IS imperative to write the date on your container. Rhubarb stays fresh for a long time, but not forever.

Thawing

When it comes time to thaw the rhubarb, it is as simple as the process of freezing was. Place the frozen rhubarb into a bowl on the counter and leave it for a few hours. Thawing overnight is a popular way to have it ready in the morning. Remember, if the rhubarb will be put into a stew, sauce, etc. it will not be necessary to defrost it. Simply begin on low heat until no rhubarb is left frozen.