Don’t know what to do with all that leftover rhubarb ? Don’t worry, we’ve got just the thing for you ! After all, rhubarb isn’t around all that long, just a few months in the beginning of the warm season. It makes sense to buy in bulk and store it for later.
But how to store a whole lot of rhubarb, can you freeze it ? And if you can, are there any special steps you have to take ? Read on to find out !
Can rhubarb be frozen ?
Yes, you can freeze rhubarb. The best way to do this is by freezing chopped rhubarb in a single layer, either on a sheet pan in the freezer or in a freezer-safe bag. This is done so the rhubarb pieces won’t stick together. You can then transfer the frozen rhubarb into a single container and take out as much as you need.
Another option is to freeze chopped rhubarb in small portions from the beginning, like a half0pound serving. Frozen rhubarb can keep up to 12 months, as long as the temperature is constant.
Should you blanch rhubarb before freezing ?
The matter is up to you. Blanching is only meant to preserve the bright color of the rhubarb stalk, and has no real effect on the texture.
If you’re unsure what blanching is, it means dunking fruit or vegetables in boiling water for a few seconds (10-30) to brighten the color. The vegetable or fruit is not cooked through, only the pigment form the outer skin is activated.
We think rhubarb can be frozen without blanching, as the color will fade anyway when the rhubarb is further cooked, when you use it. Not only that, but if you’re on a tight schedule blanching is just another step that will take more time.
That being said, you can try a batch of blanched and regular rhubarb, and see if you notice any difference in how they freeze and look afterwards.
Read also: What Goes With Rhubarb ?
Can you freeze cooked rhubarb ?
Yes, you can freeze cooked rhubarb. You can freeze any rhubarb, be it raw or cooked. The cooked version will save you some time, a sit’s already cooked. So you could make and freeze rhubarb pie filling. This way when you need some you can just take it out of the freezer and use it.
Thawed rhubarb will soften considerably
One thing to remember when you freeze rhubarb is that it will soften a lot when t thaws. If you’re freezing is and expect it to be crisp and firm when it thaws, you’ll be very disappointed.
This means you can’t really use thawed rhubarb in something like a salad. You you can take advantage of the softened veggie, because the cooking time will me much shorter than with raw rhubarb.
This way any pie fillings, jams, sauces, or smoothies will come out softer, with just the right texture.
Read also: How To Buy Rhubarb
Should you peel rhubarb ?
Normally you don’t have to peel rhubarb. Especially when it’s in the beginning of the season and all the stalks are soft and tender. Towards the end of the season (late summer and fall) you may have to do this.
The stalks become more fibrous and this is mostly concentrated in the outer skin. The downside to peeling them is that you lose a good portion of the red pigment. The flavor will still be there though.
We recommend you either not use rhubarb past the middle of July, or you cook older rhubarb for a longer time.
Other ways to store rhubarb
Aside from freezing there are other ways to store rhubarb. You’ve noticed that rhubarb can keep for up to 12 months in the freezer. But what if you need to store rhubarb for just a few days, or more than 12 months ?
Let’s take a look, and through this you may find a new love for rhubarb !
Keep rhubarb stalks in the fridge
If you’re in the middle of rhubarb season and have a whole lot that you plan to use for several days, store the stalks in the fridge. This way the rhubarb can keep for up to 7 days.
Make sure the stalks are wrapped in plastic, or are in a plastic bag. Do not put them in the back of the fridge, as it may be too cold there. If you have a vegetable crisper drawer, use that.
Your stalks may develop some condensation. That’s okay, just wipe it off and you should be fine. Just don’t let water pool around the stalks.
Can some rhubarb for later
Another option for long-term storage is to can some chopped rhubarb. You can even use the stalks whole, if you’ve got a big enough jar. You need to boil some sugar syrup (any sweetness level you like), and pour it into a jar filled with raw rhubarb.
Make sure the hot syrup coves all of the rhubarb and there aren’t any stray air bubbles. Leave an inch of space towards the top. Don’t screw the lid on too tightly, because the heat will create a seal for you.
These can keep for up to 12 months in a cold pantry, or even longer in the fridge.
Read Also:Can You Freeze Lychee?
Make rhubarb jam
You also have the option of making your very own rhubarb jam ! Yep, this way you can get rhubarb year-round, and have a ready-made pie filling.
Of course, this means you can pair the rhubarb with any other fruit you like while making the jam. So if you know your family loves that classic rhubarb-strawberry combo, go for it.
Rhubarb jam is like any other jam. You need an equal amount of chopped rhubarb and sugar, and some pectin to set the jam. Boil everything together and once it turns mushy you’re pretty much done.
Take a small spoonful and spread it on a plate. Let it cool, and see if it sets. If it’s good then you can stop the cooking and transfer to clean jars.
Always heat-treat your jars. A very cold jar can and will crack if you pour scalding-hot jam into it. Make sure the jars are at least warm. You need to pour the jam hot, otherwise the lid won’t seal.
And that’s it, you’ve made your very own rhubarb jam ! You can now Keep this for up to 24 months, in a cold pantry. Or even longer in a fridge, depending on how much fridge space you have.