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Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables to appear in the spring, and its peppy pink color and bracing flavor seem specially designed to cheer us up. Whether you love rhubarb compote, rhubarb cake or rhubarb sauce, you probably wish rhubarb was around longer. The solution? Learn how to freeze rhubarb—it’s easy peasy.
How to Freeze Rhubarb
- Rhubarb, as much as you like
- Chef’s knife or kitchen scissors
- Freezer bags or containers
- Optional: boiling water
Step 1: Prep Your Rhubarb
Wash the rhubarb thoroughly; since it grows close to the ground, dirt and grit can cling to the stalks. Trim away and discard all leaves or greenery, which are dangerously toxic. (Don’t eat them or throw them to the dog!)
Pat the rhubarb dry. Slice the stalks into small pieces, about an inch or two long.
Step 2: Blanch, If You’d Like
Blanching rhubarb (and other vegetables) preserves their bright color, especially if you plan to freeze rhubarb for more than three months. Honestly, cooked rhubarb turns a bit brownish anyway, so I’m usually one to skip this step. But, if you want to keep that gorgeous color, bring a pot of water to boil and drop the rhubarb pieces in for one minute. Drain and immediately run under cold water to halt cooking. (You want the rhubarb to stay crisp, not par-cooked and flaccid.) Dry the rhubarb before you freeze it.
Step 3: Freeze
To store it in a single container, scatter the rhubarb pieces over a baking sheet or plate. Place in the freezer until they’re frozen, and then toss them into a freezer baggie. They’ll stay separated and you can defrost portions as needed.
How to Cook with Frozen Rhubarb
You can use frozen rhubarb just as you would fresh. When you’re ready to use the rhubarb, you can cook it right from frozen, no need to defrost.
But, if the frozen rhubarb is frosted with ice, and you’re cooking something with a specific texture, like a pie, you can pop rhubarb into a saucepan and cook it down with a touch of sugar and cornstarch to soak up the extra moisture.
How Long Can You Freeze Rhubarb?
Rhubarb freezes well for up to one year.