Guide to freezing rhubarb

how to freeze rhubarb
How to freeze rhubarbGetty Images

We can hardly believe that this beautifully pink fruit is naturally this colourful and exuberant!

Rhubarb season occurs in the UK from April through to July, however forced rhubarb season can begin in January up until April. Forced rhubarb elongates the season since when the first frosts begin, the plants are moved indoors to a much warmer and darker environment (and are even picked by candlelight) which protects them from the colder weather and results in a sweeter and softer plant. These shoots grow so quickly that you can even hear them 'squeak' as they shoot up.

Why freeze rhubarb?

Whether you have a glut of seasonal rhubarb or forced rhubarb, it makes sense to freeze a load for future use (especially if you manage to grow or buy a particularly pink and sweet batches that's not always easy to come by).

Happily, these gorgeous pink sticks freeze very well with minimal effort – so you're never too far from a crumble, pie or pavlova that will brighten up any day!

How to freeze your rhubarb

Make sure your rhubarb is fresh looking, crisp and blemish free. If the stalks are fibrous, peel off the tough outer fibres and remove any leaves as these are poisonous to consume.

Freezing raw rhubarb

Clean under cold running water, dry on kitchen towel and, cut the lengths into rough 2.5cm (1in) pieces. Space out on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and freeze until frozen (around 2hr). Then decant into a freezer bag or freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Freezing blanched rhubarb

Rhubarb, Vegetable, Plant, Beet greens, Food, Root vegetable, Plant stem, Flower, Produce, Leaf vegetable,
Rhubarb, Vegetable, Plant, Beet greens, Food, Root vegetable, Plant stem, Flower, Produce, Leaf vegetable,

Before freezing rhubarb, you can blanch it to help preserve colour and flavour – this is recommended if you're planing on keeping the rhubarb frozen for more than three months.

How to blanch your rhubarb for freezing

  1. Cook your cleaned and chopped rhubarb in a pan of boiling water for 1min.

  2. Drain and immediately plunge into iced water to stop the cooking and set the colour by locking in the anthocyanins. Drain again and spread on kitchen paper to dry completely.

How do you want to use your rhubarb?

Next comes another decision – will you want to use smaller portions of your frozen rhubarb over a period of time, or use the whole amount in one go?

If the latter, then you can just pack your chopped (and blanched, if done) rhubarb into a freezer bag or freezer-proof container. This will freeze as a solid mass, but defrost well for use in recipes.

If you want to be able to grab out handfuls of frozen rhubarb (and not use the whole amount), then its best to open-freeze the chopped (and blanched, if done) rhubarb pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

Once frozen (about 2hr) pack into a freezer bag or freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 9 months.

How to use frozen rhubarb

Defrost at room temperature or in the fridge and use as desired, or if you are using rhubarb in a recipe where it requires stewing the rhubarb (rather than retaining its shape at all) then simply use straight from frozen. You can also add frozen rhubarb straight to smoothies (although you will want to pair it with sweeter fruits as it's very tart on its own).

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

SIGN UP



You Might Also Like