Rhubarb. It’s the stuff spring dessert dreams are made of. It’s one of the first veggies to appear in the spring, bringing its bright pink color and wonderfully tart taste to compotes, cakes, pies, and crumbles. But just like that, fresh rhubarb bolts when the summer heat turns up, leaving us longing for more. The solution?
Freezing it, of course!
If you’re lucky to have extra rhubarb — or just didn’t get around to baking as much as you would have liked this spring — it’s worth noting that rhubarb freezes very well and will stay good for up to a year.
The easiest way to freeze rhubarb is to cut cleaned stalks into 1-inch pieces, then lay them flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze about 3 to 4 hours or until firm. Then, transfer to freezer bags and label. You can use frozen rhubarb the same way you would use fresh.
Here’s a step-by-step with some additional tips:
Step 1: Prep your rhubarb
Rhubarb grows close to the ground, so it’s highly likely it will bring a bit of dirt with it. Rinse the rhubarb well and remove any leaves (which are dangerous to eat for both humans and dogs!). Pat your rhubarb dry. Then slice stalks into 1-inch or 2-inch pieces.
Step 2: Blanch to keep the color
If you’re planning on freezing the rhubarb longer than a few months, you may want to blanch it to help preserve its color. Cooked rhubarb turns a little brown anyway, so you may consider this step unnecessary, but if you want to try to keep a bit more color, boil a large pot of water and drop rhubarb pieces into the rolling boil for one minute (you want the rhubarb to stay crisp, not cook). Have an ice bath prepared so you can transfer the pieces immediately and halt the cooking process. Dry the rhubarb well, before continuing.
Step 3: Freezing rhubarb
Now you’re ready to freeze your rhubarb. Pro tip: Use freezer bags to portion it out for the recipes you plan on cooking in the coming months. Measure the exact amount you’ll need for one or two pies, custard or jam, or your famous crumble, and label each bag with the planned recipe and date frozen.
To store your frozen rhubarb all together, place your rhubarb in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours or until solid. Transfer to a large zip-top freezer bag, and store in back of freezer until ready to use. If kept properly frozen, pieces shouldn’t clump together, but if you’re worried, freezing in portions can help eliminate stress later.
Step 4: Enjoy!
You’ve planned ahead and will be enjoying this spring vegetable long after your friends and neighbors have said ‘so-long.’ Prepare the table for a few extra friends once word gets out you’re making strawberry rhubarb pie in September!
ALSO TRY: Perfect Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe.