Rhubarb is the perfect candidate for freezing, simply because of the ways we cook and bake with it. Learn how to prepare and freeze rhubarb the quick and easy way for use all year long!
Can You Freeze Rhubarb?
Absolutely! Freezing rhubarb is a great way to extend its shelf life and ensure you have enough rhubarb to last you all spring and summer!
The tart taste of rhubarb works in both savory and sweet preparations. In fact, you can think of it like cranberries, pairing rhubarb in savory sauces for meat, or baked like a fruit in muffins, breads and cakes.
If you love rhubarb like I do, you always wish it were around all year. It's season is springtime, and only for a few months, depending on the climate you live in. By freezing rhubarb, you preserve rhubarb's freshness for several months.
You can find rhubarb in the stores produce section as well, but there are only so many weeks where you can find it to make my Orange Streusel Rhubarb Muffins or Rhubarb Crisp.
Fun fact: Did you know rhubarb is a vegetable? It is! Even though we often cook and bake with it like we do fruit.
Selecting The Best Rhubarb
If you know you'll be freezing rhubarb, you'll want to pick the prime stalks from the grocery store or farmers market.
Here's what to look out for when selecting rhubarb at the store:
- Color: The redder the stalks, the sweeter. But, I have to say, I think it's all tart! And you'll find red and greenish-pink stalks that are fully ripe. Both varieties and colors are delicious.
- Texture: Look for stalks that are firm but tender. If a stalk is wilted or too soft, don't buy it.
- Size: Opt for thinner stalks of rhubarb. They're younger and have a better texture. Thick stalks of rhubarb are often woody and not as palatable.
Want to Know More About Rhubarb?
See my post on How To Prepare Rhubarb And Other Tips.
How To Freeze Rhubarb
Step 1: Trim leaves and wash rhubarb
The first step for preparing rhubarb to freeze is to trim the leaves from the stalks and discard.
- I like to trim about ½ to 1 inch from the green leaf to make sure I get it all off.
- Wash any dirt from the stalks with cold water.
Step 2: Cut rhubarb to the size you want
I freeze rhubarb in the size pieces I want to use it in. That way I don't have to thaw it completely before stirring it into batter or recipes.
- For my Orange Streusel Rhubarb Muffins, I cut the rhubarb to about the size of large blueberries, or cranberries! That's a good way to think of the size, don't you think?
- For my rhubarb cake, I use 1 inch pieces so I'll cut the amount I need for that recipe and freeze it in a bag, labeled as such.
The list goes on! If you have a rhubarb recipe you like, cut your rhubarb according to that recipe.
Otherwise, simply cut your stalks into ½ inch pieces and I'm sure that will be suitable for the recipes you find throughout the year.
Step 3: Freeze in a single layer
Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and place your rhubarb pieces on it in a single layer.
- They can touch, but freeze best when they are not piled on top of each other.
- Freeze for about 1 hour or up to a day. The rhubarb pieces become like little ice cubes!
Step 4: Pack, label, and storing rhubarb
After the rhubarb has frozen in a single layer, you can pack it into bags or containers to freeze it for several months.
- I use freezer-quality zip-top bags because I can easily remove excess air from them.
- The more air-tight you can package the rhubarb, the better the quality when you go to use it.
- I package my rhubarb into the quantities I need for various recipes. For instance, my muffins need two cups, so I freeze just that amount in one bag. That way I don't need to thaw an entire bag to use a portion of it.
FAQs About Freezing Rhubarb
Can You Eat Rhubarb Leaves?
No! The leaves are poisonous. Deer don't even eat it, so it's safe in your garden.
Can You Freeze Rhubarb Raw?
Absolutely! That's my preferred method for freezing rhubarb.
Can You Blanch Rhubarb Before Freezing It?
Some folks like to blanch rhubarb before freezing it. Blanching means cooking it in boiling water for a minute and then shocking it cold in ice water.
Personally, I don't think it's necessary to blanch rhubarb prior to freezing it.
I do not think this benefits the rhubarb at all. In fact, I think it breaks it down too much and my baking and cooking results aren't the same when I use it.
Do you Peel Rhubarb Before Freezing It?
Nope, you don't want to do that. Just chop it up and freeze it as I've instructed.
What Is the Texture of Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is similar in texture to celery, so it's easy to slice and dice. Once cooked, rhubarb is incredibly soft and gooey.
How Long Does Frozen Rhubarb Last?
Store bags of frozen rhubarb in the freezer for up to one year.
How To Use Frozen Rhubarb
Use frozen rhubarb just as you would fresh. When you’re ready to use the rhubarb, stir the pieces into your recipe as is, no need to defrost.
If the frozen rhubarb has frost or excess ice on it, you can quickly rinse it under cold water to remove the frost and pat it almost dry with paper towels.
If you used it with the ice, it could add excess moisture to your food and affect the texture of a filling of batter.
Let me know how it went!
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How To Freeze Rhubarb
- 2 cups rhubarb, or more as desired
- Trim leaves from rhubarb stalks. Wash rhubarb under cold water and drain.
- Cut rhubarb into small pieces. 1-inch to ½-inch works well for most recipes.
- Spread rhubarb on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour or up to a day.
- Transfer frozen rhubarb pieces to labled freezer bags, remove as much air as possible and seal.
- Freeze bags of rhubarb for up to 12 months.
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About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Natalie Lopez says
Thank you for all these tips and tricks! I've never cooked with rhubarb until this year, so it was helpful to learn all these steps from the pro!
I had no idea rhubarb is a vegetable? I always learn something new at TaraTeaspoon.com. I love how this is for a smaller portion of rhubarb and doesn't require a day of prepping. It's the perfect amount for me to have on hand.
Megan Palmer says
I love how this won't take up a lot of room in my freezer!
Fantastic information! Thank you!