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This quick and easy method for how to freeze rhubarb let’s you make the most of the unusual plant’s short growing season so you can enjoy the tart flavor of rhubarb all year long!
Rhubarb is one of our favorite ingredients in a lot of recipes, but it can be really hard to find for most of the year. And if you are lucky enough to have a rhubarb plant in your yard, you might find yourself with more than you can use in a short period of time.
The solution for us is to freeze rhubarb so that we always have it on hand when we want to make make a rhubarb crisp or a strawberry rhubarb pie!
It’s very simple to freeze rhubarb. There is no need to peel or blanch the rhubarb in boiling water before freezing like some other fruits and vegetables. And rhubarb holds up very well for up to a year once frozen, which means you can put up enough to get you through until next rhubarb season!
How to use frozen rhubarb
Frozen rhubarb will release more liquid when baking, so take that into account when using it in a recipe that calls for fresh rhubarb. Most recipes can be easily adjusted by adding an extra tablespoon of cornstarch or flour simmering a rhubarb filling a minute or two longer to fix the issue. If the rhubarb is being added to baked goods like quick bread, muffins, or cake, you may want to toss the pieces in a little flour and plan to bake a minute or two longer.
Here are some of our favorite recipes that work great with frozen rhubarb.
- Layered Rhubarb Pudding Dessert
- Rhubarb Jam
- Rhubarb Crisp
- Rhubarb Bread
- Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream
- Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Rhubarb Muffins
- Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
How to freeze rhubarb
- Trim the rhubarb. First, cut off any leaves if the rhubarb is from your own garden. Because rhubarb leaves are toxic, there shouldn’t be any leaves if you are buying rhubarb from a farmer’s market or the store, but if it’s from your garden, be sure to throw those leaves out. We are all for using celery and carrot scraps for making chicken stock and eating beet leaves and stems, but rhubarb leaves are no joke – get rid of them!
- Wash the stalks in cool water. Be sure to get rid of any dirt, then gently dry the rhubarb with a clean dish towel.
- Chop into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. If the rhubarb stalks are really thick, you might want to slice them down the middle first. Most rhubarb recipes call for small pieces anyway, so this step saves you time in the future as well as making it easier to freeze the rhubarb!
- Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you have a lot of rhubarb, it might take more than one baking sheet. Don’t crowd the pan or the rhubarb will freeze together in large clumps that are difficult to work with.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours. It doesn’t take long for the small pieces of rhubarb to freeze through. Once the pieces are individually frozen, you can store them in larger bags and just measure out what you need instead of thawing a whole bunch at once.
- Transfer to resealable freezer bags for longer-term storage. Remove as much as as possible for the best quality when you go to use the rhubarb. It’s a good idea to label the bags with the date that the rhubarb was frozen so it can be used within 1 year.
How to store frozen rhubarb
Once the rhubarb is frozen, you can transfer the pieces to reusable silicon freezer bags or other freezer-safe container for longer term storage.
Frequently asked questions
Can I freeze rhubarb without cooking it? Yes, rhubarb freezes best without cooking it beforehand. Some people suggest blanching the rhubarb in boiling water for a minute or two first, but that makes it break down more in the freezer and it doesn’t last as long. I think rhubarb has the best texture when frozen raw.
How long does frozen rhubarb keep? Once frozen, rhubarb will keep for up to a year in the freezer and still taste great! If ice crystals form around the rhubarb, just rinse it in a little cold water first to remove them before using in a recipe.
Can you bake with frozen rhubarb? Definitely! Frozen rhubarb works great in things like muffins, quick breads, cakes, and crisps. You typically don’t even need to thaw it first. Just toss them in the batter and proceed like normal.
- 2 pounds fresh rhubarb stalks, leaves trimmed
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- freezer-safe resealable bags
- Trim any leaves from the rhubarb stalks and slice off ends.
- Wash the rhubarb stalks under cool water to remove any dirt, then dry with a clean towel.
- Chop the rhubarb like celery into small 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Thicker stalks of rhubarb may need to be sliced down the middle lengthwise first.
- Arrange the chopped rhubarb pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours.
- Once frozen, the rhubarb can be transferred to large freezer-safe bags for longer term storage, up to 1 year.
- One pound of rhubarb = about 3 cups.
- For most recipes, the frozen rhubarb does not need to be thawed before using.