Knowing how to freeze rhubarb is your best chance at ensuring that this tangy and cheery pink vegetable sticks around longer.
Whether you love rhubarb compote or rhubarb sauce, here is a detailed guided on how to freeze it the right way.
How to Freeze Rhubarb in Five Simple Steps
Things You’ll Need
- Ice water
Equipment You’ll Need
- Chopping board
- Slotted spoon
- Paper towels or salad spinner
- Food-grade Ziploc bags or container
Step 1. Prepare the Rhubarb
After harvesting the rhubarb, wash it thoroughly with running water to remove all the grit and dirt on the stalks as it grows close to the ground. Washing the rhubarb with running water ensures that the dirt from the vegetable flows away instead of being contained.
Next, pat the rhubarb dry using a kitchen or paper towel. Alternatively, you can leave the rhubarb to air dry on your kitchen counter. Once well dried, Place the stalks on the chopping board and slice them into small one-to-two-inch cubes.
- Remember to cut off and discard the rhubarb leaves away from children and pets as they are highly toxic.
- I love chopping my rhubarb into small cubes, but you can cut it to whichever sizes you want. Alternatively, cut into the various sizes that various rhubarb recipes call for.
Step 2. Blanch Your Chopped Rhubarb
Blanching the rhubarb is not a mandatory step, but I like doing it because it helps preserve the color of the rhubarb and other vegetables. It especially vital if you are planning on freezing them for more than three months.
Here, place a saucepan on high heat, add water and bring it to a rolling boil. Covering the saucepan with a lid will quicken the process. Alternatively, heat the water in an electric kettle and then add pour it into the saucepan.
Next, add your diced rhubarb to the hot water and bring to a simmer for at least a minute or two. The goal is for the rhubarb to retain its crispiness.
Step 3. Setup an Ice Bath
Now, mix chilled water with a lot of ice cubes. Having a lot of ice ensures that you will still be left with a good amount after the hot rhubarb has melted some.
After a one-minute simmer, your rhubarb should be crispy but still retain its vibrant color. Now, place your colander in the sink, drain your rhubarb, and immediately transfer it into the ice bath.
This will help stop the cooking process, which helps retain the texture, nutrients, and color of the rhubarb. Now, allow your rhubarb to sit in the ice bath for at least five minutes or until cold when touched.
Note: Prepare your ice bath earlier if you will use an electric kettle to heat the blanching water as the blanching time is shorter this way.
Step 4. Dry the Rhubarb
Once completely cooled, use a slotted spoon to get the rhubarb cubes from the ice bath and dry them in a salad spinner. Three to five spins will do the trick.
Alternatively, dry the excess water with a kitchen or paper towel before leaving the rhubarb cubes to dry for at least 10 minutes. Remember that you will still need to air dry the rhubarb even after using a salad spinner.
Step 5. Freeze the Dry Rhubarb Cubes
Once dry, pack the dry rhubarb in food-grade Ziplock bags. Alternatively, portion the rhubarb into the exact amounts needed for the recipes you will be making and freeze separately in well-labeled Ziplock bags.
If you want to freeze the rhubarb in a container, consider freezing the blanched rhubarb cubes before tossing them in the container. Do this by spreading the cubes on a tray and placing them in the freezer until frozen. Doing this helps keep the pieces separated when in a container.
- Ensure that your freezing container is airtight.
- Blanching the rhubarb increases its shelf-life.
- Cook frozen rhubarb as you would fresh one. However, if it is frozen, but you are looking for a specific texture, consider cooking it down in a saucepan with some cornstarch and sugar.
Watch this video by ExpertVillage Leaf Group on how to cut & cook rhubarb:
Here you go, rhubarb lovers. With such a detailed guide, freezing this luscious vegetable will become second nature to you. What's more, it doesn't need any special equipment. That way, you can enjoy a dose of its bracing flavor whenever you crave it all year round.
What rhubarb recipes would you like to share with us? Let us know in the comment section below!
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