How To Freeze Rhubarb

Rhubarb is easy to grow in the garden which often means you are left with more than you can eat. Perhaps you have a glut of rhubarb and are wondering how on earth to use it all up? Panic not, you can freeze rhubarb in a variety of ways to suit your needs so it will store safely until needed. Once your crown of rhubarb starts to produce, the only thing to ensure is that you’ve made room in the freezer!

Rhubarb is such a tasty treat and can be used in so many different recipes depending on your mood. A rhubarb crumble is perfect for those chilly autumn nights when it’s dark outside. Or you can prepare some rhubarb smoothies for those warm summer mornings. You could even make your own gin or jam with it.


Preparing Fresh Rhubarb For The Freezer

You need to make sure you remove the toxic leaves and wash the rhubarb well before freezing. Then you can chop into small chunks or cut lengthways depending on your requirements.

Slicing Rhubarb

You can slice your rhubarb in small chunks or slice lengthways to a thickness of your choice. Try to slice into similar-sized chunks so that they freeze evenly. However you choose to slice your rhubarb, you will lose some of the shape as it defrosts so it really is best used in pies, smoothies, and other similar recipes.

Top Tip – Freezing Rhubarb Whole?

You will be best chopping your rhubarb before freezing so that it’s in manageable pieces for the freezing process. Also, you must remove the leaves first anyway as these are toxic when ingested. The only edible part of rhubarb is the stalk itself.


How Should Rhubarb Be Frozen?

You have a few options when it comes to freezing your rhubarb and the method you choose will depend on how you will be using it once defrosted.

Raw

You can opt for freezing your rhubarb glut raw and for this you’ll want to choose some ripe stalks.

  • Remove all the toxic leaves and wash well.
  • Remove any stringy bits hanging onto the stalks.
  • Slice up as desired, trying to make the slices fairly equal in size.
  • Pop on a tray lined with baking paper in a single layer.
  • Flash freeze overnight.
  • Once frozen, pour into bags or containers and label.
  • These should be used within 6-12 months.

Blanched

Blanching your rhubarb before freezing helps to retain the consistency and colour of your rhubarb.

  • Wash the rhubarb well, removing all leaves.
  • Slice the stalks into 1-inch chunks.
  • Boil a large pan of water on the stove.
  • Also, prepare a bowl of cold water filled with some ice.
  • Boil the rhubarb for no more than a minute in the hot water.
  • Drain the rhubarb well and place it directly into the water and ice concoction to stop the rhubarb from continuing to cook.
  • Stir well and leave the rhubarb for 5 or so minutes on the ice.
  • Drain them again as you don’t want any excess moisture for the freezing process.
  • Flash freeze as above on a single-layered tray.
  • Separate into bags or containers with a label.
  • Use within 12 months of freezing.

Cooked

This method is perfect if you’ve overestimated how much rhubarb you needed for a recipe or if you have a baby.

  • Wash and prepare your rhubarb ready to cook.
  • Boil a pan of water, adding some sugar.
  • You can also add any spices such as cinnamon or ginger.
  • Simmer until the rhubarb is soft to touch.
  • Cool down on the kitchen surface in a bowl.
  • Pop into bags or containers and label.
  • Pop in the freezer and use it within 12 months.

How To Defrost Rhubarb Before Use

You can simply leave the rhubarb out on the kitchen worktop until it’s fully defrosted. It does lose some of its shape during the thawing process so try not to move it around too much. Some recipes will allow you to skip the defrosting process and cook straight from frozen. It’s worth bearing in mind that it can shrink as it thaws so always err on the side of caution when cooking in this way.

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