Rhubarb is the perfect candidate for freezing, simply because of the ways we cook and bake with it. Learn the quick and easy way to freeze rhubarb for use all year long.
Did you know rhubarb is a vegetable? It is! Even though we often cook and bake with it like we do fruit. It's also only around for a few months a year. That's why you'll want to check out how to freeze rhubarb with some simple steps.
Quick-click table of contents:
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.
Know your rhubarb:
First, know that the leaves are poisonous. Deer don't even eat it so it's safe in your garden.
Rhubarb is similar in texture to celery. So it's easy to slice and dice.
The more red 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.
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.
Want to know more about rhubarb?
See my post on How To Prepare Rhubarb And Other Tips.
Step 1: Trim leaves and wash rhubarb
The first step to prepare rhubarb to freeze is to trim the leaves from the stalks and discard. I like to trim about 1/2 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, prepare your stalks for that. If not, simply cut your stalks into 1/2 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!
Do you have to blanch rhubarb to freeze 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.
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.
Step 4: Pack, label and store
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.
How long can you freeze rhubarb?
Store bags of frozen rhubarb in the freezer for up to one year.
Step 6: 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.
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.