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How to Freeze Rhubarb

Mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 7, I strive daily to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.

Rhubarb is a perennial so ours comes back every year.

Rhubarb is a perennial so ours comes back every year.

Harvesting This Early Spring Vegetable is Quite Easy

Rhubarb is a large-leafed plant with edible stalks that grows like a bad weed anywhere that it gets the opportunity to be planted. It is a very hardy perennial. Unfortunately, it is a vegetable that often gets neglected when it shouldn't. Rather than being harvested along with the rest of the garden's riches, rhubarb is often just left in the garden to decompose.

Your rhubarb really does not have to be left behind from the harvest. It is so very easy to harvest and to store.

Gardening Doesn't Take Up Much Space

Preparing Rhubarb for the Freezer

  1. You can twist and pull the stalk out at their base to yank it up from the ground and out of the main rhubarb plant. If you find this too difficult to manage you can chop the rhubarb stalk low to the ground keeping in mind that the remaining stubble may interfere in future growths.
  2. Remove the rhubarb leaves as these are toxic and should never be eaten.
  3. Wash the rhubarb stems thoroughly.
  4. Remove any woody or damaged stems.
You can freeze your stalks whole or you can dice your rhubarb into bite sized pieces.

You can freeze your stalks whole or you can dice your rhubarb into bite sized pieces.

There are a Number of Ways to Package It for Freezing

There are a number of methods for freezing rhubarb:

  • Rhubarb can be put in airtight plastic bags or within plastic storage containers for freezing.
  • It can be frozen as whole stalks within either freezer bags or bread bags.
  • It can be chopped and frozen in its natural state, frozen with added sugar, or frozen within a syrup mixture.

I generally freeze my rhubarb plain as this is the easiest and quickest method to freeze this vegetable. I simply chop my rhubarb, pop it into the bags, and then into the freezer. I do, however, place my rhubarb into a variety of different sized containers so I have an ample variety of sizes to select from. This ensures that no matter how large a batch it is, that I am choosing to cook that day I'll be sure to have the correct package in the freezer for my needs.

You can leave it whole or chop it up—it's your choice.

You can leave it whole or chop it up—it's your choice.

Adding Sugar to Your Packages

If you are adding sugar in with your rhubarb, generally use about one part sugar for every four parts of rhubarb. You can stir your sugar and rhubarb within a bowl before bagging it or just dump the sugar into the bag over top of the rhubarb. Shake the container to coat.

Anyone who has ever eaten rhubarb plain knows that it is a very tart vegetable it is therefore best when it is combined with other fruits to give it a little more natural sweetness. For a more tasty treat in your recipes combine apples along with the rhubarb. Apples tend to compliment the flavor of rhubarb very nicely.

Don't forget to put the date on your packages before you put them in the freezer to insure that older batches are used first.

A variety of size packages for future cooking convenience.

A variety of size packages for future cooking convenience.

A Deliciously Nutritious Early Spring Vegetable

Rhubarb has long been known for its health merits. The stem of the plant is rich in anthraquinones. These substances are known for their laxative and cathartic or body cleansing abilities and provide for a natural body cleansing when ingested.

It was a standard plant in rural gardens but as produce became easier to purchase this plant was often treated as simply a decorative addition by those who did not realize its true potential. Looking much like a weed with its huge leafy foliage rhubarb is of late being once again more widely recognized for the tasty and nutritious food that it is.

Rhubarb is such an easy vegetable to preserve that it takes just minutes to prepare for freezing and once frozen it will maintain its nutritional value for up to nine months. Rhubarb can be added to all kinds of tasty treats to add that little extra nutritional value to your desserts.

Recycle your plastic, they can come in handy.

Recycle your plastic, they can come in handy.

Recycling Makes Sense

The containers that you use to freeze your rhubarb can be recycled ones. Margarine or yogurt containers work perfect for storing your gardens bounty.

In addition to being an economical option and saving more plastics from being created or thrown into a local landfill, reusing your plastic containers also gives you a wider range of various sized containers to choose from.

When freezing your rhubarb, as with all fruit or vegetables, try to put a variety of sized packages in your freezer for later use. Having a number of size options in your freezer will help prevent waste when baking.

Rhubarb is often just left in the garden. Do you harvest yours?

Apple-Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 2 cups diced apples
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare the crumb mixture by creaming the margarine into the brown sugar. Add the next four ingredients and mix till crumbly.
  2. Dice the fruit into small squares and mix with the white sugar.
  3. Combine one-quarter of the crumb mixture with the diced fruit in a baking pan. Pour the remaining crumb mixture atop the rhubarb, apple and crumb mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty-five to forty-five minutes. Top with ice cream, whipping cream or serve with a small amount of milk.

Note: You can lessen the brown sugar to one cup if you like your crisp less sweet. This crisp can also be prepared without the apples. Just replace apples with two cups of additional rhubarb.

Rhubarb and apple are natural internal cleansers for the body.

Rhubarb and apple are natural internal cleansers for the body.

Malic Acid May Help Remove Metal Toxins

I've already let you know that rhubarb is a natural cleanser for your body, but did you know that apples will also help cleanse your body too? Apples are well-known for their rich vitamin content, but a lesser-known fact is that the pectin/malic acid within apples can help to detoxify your system. It binds with heavy metal toxins such as aluminum and mercury and aides in their removal from the body. Apple-rhubarb pie . . . what a yummy way to get a little healthier.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Lorelei Cohen

Do You Grow a Portion of Your Food?

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on May 14, 2019:

I don't add sugar when I freeze my rhubarb. When I cook with it, I generally use strawberries or other fruit to counter the tartness of the rhubarb.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on May 22, 2018:

Hi Lori Yes, always. My husband usually hose sprays it outside and I give it a quick rinse again indoors. Rhubarb does lose its crispiness when frozen but then again it also does when it is cooked and that is what we use it for. I combine it with apple in crisps and pies.

Lori Robinson on May 21, 2018:

Do you wash your rhubarb before freezing. I think I froze some once & when I defrosted it it was all mushy.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on August 09, 2014:

Freezing rhubarb is something I have never tried before. Thank you for the in-depth and detailed instructions.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 25, 2014:

No but I love rhubarb.

anonymous on July 14, 2014:

We've had rhubarb in our garden since we started it back in 2001. This is the first year that it's not doing well at all. A maple tree has grown up near it and I think it's too shady. I need to look up how to move it because I think it needs more sun. I'm sad without rhubarb this year!

John Dyhouse from UK on July 11, 2014:

We are never without rhubarb in the freezer. It is a marvellous staple and I love it in a crumble. The sweet pastry is a great foil to the tartness of the rhubarb.

RoadMonkey on July 03, 2014:

Yes, I love rhubarb and we have enough to share with neighbours too.

Didn't know you could freeze rhubarb. Thanks.

Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on July 02, 2014:

Excellent idea for harvesting from garden. I don't grow rhubarb. It was one of the first things I got rid of when we moved in. Hated it as a kid.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on June 22, 2014:

@hikingagain: Yes it loses its crispness but maintains all its flavor. It works great in baking or jam.

hikingagain on June 22, 2014:

when you thaw the frozen rhubarb, is it mushy?

Corrinna Johnson from BC, Canada on June 05, 2014:

I have a big patch that is almost ready to be harvested! Can't wait to make a rhubarb pie!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on February 15, 2014:

I don't grow it, but my grandparents sure did and they made all their jams and pies with it - I remember picking them and dipping them in sugar to eat them when I was little -- good memories :)

Hal Gall from Bloomington, IN on July 16, 2013:

I love rhubarb pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 12, 2013:

@Tom Maybrier: I do so love it in apple crisp. I took one to a potluck once and one lady kept quizzing me because her apple crisp just did not taste like mine lol. Rhubarb just gives that little extra zing.

DebMartin on July 11, 2013:

Oh do I love rhubarb. I never thought of adding the sugar before I freeze it. That certainly makes preparation easy. Although I guess it would take up more freezer space. I'll experiment. Thanks!

Tom Maybrier on July 10, 2013:

Rhubarb is so under-appreciated!

gregxavier on July 08, 2013:

My mom used to make a great Rhubarb pie,also when i was a kid i loved to it Rhubarb raw that my mom grew

in her garden.Wow it was sour but i loved it!

RoadMonkey on July 08, 2013:

Love rhubarb, especially with custard, and used to make rhubarb jam, many years ago, but never actually thought of freezing it!

Nnadi bonaventure Chima from Johanesburg on July 08, 2013:

Nice lens and important vegetable

Valerie Smith from New Zealand on July 07, 2013:

I used to grow my own rhubarb but haven't done so for a couple of years. Your lens makes me want to grow it again :)

ChanKaMun on July 07, 2013:

Great read. I don't normally plant stuff but I do have some lemongrass in my backyard which comes in pretty handy at times. Rhubarb seems like something I should have in my garden too.

Jack on July 07, 2013:

We used to have some plants in the garden and we made strawberry rhubarb pie a lot.

KentuckyGal LM on July 07, 2013:

Congratulations on LOTD! We don't even have a garden yet, because we just moved into this house last week. But it's got a GREAT garden space and my fingers are just itchin' to dig in the dirt! My mother was from Switzerland, and I remember some great recipes with rhubarb.

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

I don't but I do love it with strawberries. Upside-down strawberry and rhubarb cake - pretty good!

Judy Filarecki from SW Arizona and Northern New York on July 07, 2013:

I just got a few roots from a friend of mine so hopefully I will have my own rhubarb for a long time to come.

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

My mom used to grow her own rhubarb

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 07, 2013:

@Titia: We have tons of mosquitoes where I grew up so when you go into the garden you find them there and quickly lol.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on July 07, 2013:

Congrats on your LOTD, but I really don't know what mosquitoes have to do with rhubarb.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on July 07, 2013:

Mine is growing really well and we do eat it.

Colin323 on July 07, 2013:

Yes, eat it too - and there's not much left for freezing afterwards! It goes well with stem ginger, cooked in a little orange juice.

Erin Mellor from Europe on July 07, 2013:

Sadly not, but I was in Yorkshire this weekend, so picked up the best rhubarb in the world. I won't get to do anything with it for a few days so these freezing tips are perfect.

Jeri Baker on July 07, 2013:

Most years, yes. This year I just did not get around to planting rhubarb...shame on me!

Mary Stephenson from California on July 07, 2013:

I have not had rhubarb in years. Love rhubarb pie, cobbler, crisp, jam and just cooked. Like it raw also. It is especially good with strawberries and rhubarb in a pie. My mother in-law had given me a no cook recipe for rhubarb jam made with jello, I remember it being really good and very easy to do.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 07, 2013:

@SevenSistersRoses: There were six kids in my family and my dad had only an elementary school education so we always had a garden to supplement his income. Not too much went to waste with eight mouths to feed

Kay on July 07, 2013:

Other than in pie, I don't believe I've ever had rhubarb. Going to remedy that! Congratulations on LotD. You put together a beautiful page!

SevenSistersRoses on July 07, 2013:

Always wanted to try Rhubarb jam, but I've never heard of a recipe seen it eaten any other way. Thought it wasn't very popular.

hkhollands on July 07, 2013:

Congratulations on lens of the day! I don't grow my own rhubarb, but I get some from my dad's garden. I l love it.

Pat Goltz on July 07, 2013:

I like tart, but not rhubarb or turnip. Must be a body chemistry thing. On the other hand, the last thing I need is something laxative, and this may have turned me off when I was really little. Thanks for the information. The recipe sounds nice; may try it with something else. Also won't include the sugar. And margarine is made from vegetable oils, most of which are genetically engineered these days. I stick to butter.

Raymond Eagar on July 07, 2013:

Good lens , my mom made rhubarb pie and I loved it .

Wilf Catt from Leicester, England on July 07, 2013:

When cooking rhubarb, add some Angelica to offset the rhubarb's tartness.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on July 07, 2013:

Would love to have some rhubarb to bake up in a pie right about now. More than reason enough to keep frozen rhubarb in the freezer all year long. Just stopping back by to congratulate you on LotD. Very pleased for you, my friend.

SusanAston on July 07, 2013:

The leaves are dangerous. But if you boil them up in a stained saucepan, they will clean the saucepan really well.

KnitnPurlGirl on July 07, 2013:

I usually use it in muffins or I cook it up with strawberries. A good lens!

lionmom100 on July 07, 2013:

I love rhubarb, but once had to kill a plant that was taking over the world. Would love to have some again, but I'm leery of its expansionist tendencies. I'm looking for a spot in my garden for one. It's is very pretty too.

Peter Badham from England on July 07, 2013:

Can't believe nobody has mentioned Rhubarb Crumble (or is that a real English thing?). Anyway, they don't have it in Mallorca, introduced it my friends there and they loved it! Can see a frozen exporting business happening with your tips :)

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

I don't grow Rhubarb but I am a fan of Strawberry Rhubarb pie. Congratulations on getting LotD!

philipcaddick on July 07, 2013:

I would love to grow it, I need to find someone with some plants that they can split up for me . Some very useful information in this Lens. Thanks

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on July 07, 2013:

My son had a taste of rhubarb pie at a friend's house yesterday and loved it!

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on July 07, 2013:

I used to grow rhubarb in England, but have not given it a try in Canada. It likes sunny areas but tends to take over and then shade all the other plants. It is a rheum and will grow other plats from the roots and hence tends to take over. We really should grow it as we have horses and it loves horse manure to grow in. I am glad you got the Lotd for such an informative lens. Added bonus recipe too!

sybil watson on July 07, 2013:

This brings back memories of my mom's delicious strawberry/rhubarb pie. Congratulations on being awarded LOTD.

amosvee on July 07, 2013:

I have a lot of rhubarb available in my late father's garden, but I'm afraid I've let it go too long. Is it ok, as long as it isn't visibly woody?

ConnieGreen LM on July 07, 2013:

I have just recently become a fan of rhubarb, so I appreciate your information here.

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

Really awesome lens. Congratulations for the LOTD!

WeaselPuppy on July 07, 2013:

Now I want to go plant some rhubarb! I keep looking for garden plants I won't kill.

Otto Phillips on July 07, 2013:

I like strawberry rhubarb pie and the crisp you have shown here looks delicious. Congrats on Lens of the Day!

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

We live in an apartment, so no we don't grow rhubarb, but I wouldn't turn it down if someone who grows more than they can handle would offer me some. Sometimes I buy a little bit and put it with strawberries in a pie. Love rhubarb!

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

i like fruits.dishes made with the fruits i love to eat.

ChristyZ on July 07, 2013:

This is great, I freeze bread, cookies, berries...just about everything...but it never occurred to me that I could freeze rhubarb, lol. This is terrific info and I love the rhubarb crisp recipe. :)

Art-Aspirations on July 07, 2013:

Yes, I love rhubarb. I planted it in my community garden. Bonus - it's low in calories, high in fibre and has a very low glycemic load. I sweeten mine with stevia so there are no added sugar calories.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 07, 2013:

@BarbaraCasey: I make apple and rhubarb pie. My mom though always made strawberry rhubarb jam and it was so good. The two compliment each other beautifully.

BarbaraCasey on July 07, 2013:

Strawberry-rhubarb pie. Nothing better. Congrats on LOTD!

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 07, 2013:

@delia-delia: I find that too with the rhubarb beside our garden. The only good news is that we harvest early before the other plants get high. The leaves of the rhubarb are so huge.

Susan Hazelton from Summerfield, Florida on July 07, 2013:

I had no idea that you could freeze rhubarb. I'll have to try it. I dearly love strawberry rhubarb pie.

Delia on July 07, 2013:

Congratulations on LOTD! Love rhubarb...the shade has taken over on my plants, they don't get big now...no real sunshine area to replant

diegocomercio on July 07, 2013:

nice, interesting, informative. great lens

greytdogz on July 07, 2013:

I love rhubarb. And fresh from the garden is the best. Whenever I've had a rhubarb plant, I've always picked it. When I had too much, I'd use some, freeze some, and give some away. Strawberry Rhubarb pie is one of my favorites. Thank you for a great lens.

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on July 07, 2013:

Great tips! I don't currently have any rhubarb growing in my garden, but now I have a craving for it! Like your idea of chopping it and adding sugar before freezing.

Wilf Catt from Leicester, England on July 07, 2013:

In Yorkshire, England rhubarb is force grown in the dark in large sheds. The area is known as the "Rhubarb Triangle" . It's a fascinating horticultural practice. Take a look at: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/CultureAndLeisure/Hist...

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on July 07, 2013:

I've never grown rhubarb. Great info, enjoyed the lens. Congratulations on LotD!

Alan Katz from Florida on July 07, 2013:

Thanks for sharing this lens. I didn't know a lot of this.

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on July 07, 2013:

My sister-in-law uses fresh rhubarb in her strawberry pie, and it is a summertime favorite. Congratulations on LOTD!

Bercton1 on July 07, 2013:

I don't grow it but I certainly buy it and its product.Your lens is very inspiring and full of great details. Congratulation on LOTD! well done!

writerkath on July 07, 2013:

I'm really glad to see your lens on this! Just yesterday, a friend was over for dinner, and we were walking around the yard, and I pointed out my rhubarb plant. I kind of sighed, saying, "I just don't really know what to do with it!" But, you have given me some inspiration today! I'll go get those stems and process them!! I don't want to continue to waste a perfectly good plant! Congratulations on this LoTD which just helped me greatly!

lionmom100 on June 25, 2013:

I love rhubarb but don't current'y have a plant. We have been thinking of buying one. They are pretty ornamentally too.

donjohnsonis lm on June 24, 2013:

I love rhubarb, but didn't know how to freeze it. Thanks, Don

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on June 19, 2013:

@anonymous: I know that a lot of people tend to not harvest the rhubarb because they are not sure that they can use it. It is very simply to put in the freezer though or if you ask around there is always someone who love to have it. It makes delicious pies, crisps, and jam.

anonymous on June 18, 2013:

Our home had a rhubarb plant when we moved in. Have never done anything with it. We should...

Jogalog on June 14, 2013:

My parents used to and I loved it. Unfortunately my husband doesn't like it.

Scott A McCray on June 13, 2013:

Rhubarb pie...now there's a happy childhood memory!

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on May 26, 2013:

It's rhubarb season, so I wanted to stop back by and refresh my memory on freezing rhubarb. Thanks so much for providing this useful page.

nifwlseirff on May 12, 2013:

I don't grow my own (yet), but some others in my family do. I came looking for how to store (a good 4kg!) of rhubarb - thank you for the freezing tips!

Rob Hemphill from Ireland on May 09, 2013:

I don't grow rhubarb now but used to, I miss not being able to harvest it when I want to and should eat more of it - nothing better than rhubarb and custard!

gradientcat on March 25, 2013:

We get lots of rhubarb in the summer. I'll have to try freezing some.

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on March 25, 2013:

I miss my freezer. It's so much easier to freeze produce than to can. We live off-grid and only have solar power. Maybe one day I'll be able to afford a solar freezer and then I'll freeze extra rhubarb. I'd better start planting extra rhubarb plants now, because right now we eat all we harvest.

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on September 01, 2012:

I like your suggestion of freezing rhubarb in assorted quantities to be used as needed.

poutine on August 22, 2012:

I used to...but not anymore.

bechand on August 05, 2012:

a friend brings it into work frequently (that time of year) and I never know what to do with it or how to keep it ...THANKS

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 28, 2012:

@hartworks lm: When you get to much rhubarb you can always give some to family, friends, or to your local food bank. Rhubarb is also great for selling at the local fall fairs because it has such a wonderful country atmosphere to it and the items that it is baked into.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 28, 2012:

@Melissa Miotke: Rhubarb really adds that little extra flavor to baked goods so I always keep it in the freezer to add in with my apple dessert recipes.

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on July 27, 2012:

I don't but I would love to have it. I really enjoy rhubarb.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 16, 2012:

@Joan Haines: Rhubarb certainly adds a nice zing to apple crisp and apple pie recipes. I have been asked many times why my baking tastes so good and I always say that it is the rhubarb added in that makes the difference.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 16, 2012:

@anonymous: Thank you Tipi those rhubarb popsicles sound delicious and nutritious. With how hot much of the country has been homemade popsicles are a great way to cool off. I'll pop your rhubarb making tip into a black box module as this comment sinks down. Love you darling.

Lorelei Cohen (author) from Canada on July 16, 2012:

@anonymous: Once you plant rhubarb it will grow back every year. All you have to do is trim back the remnants of the plant at the end of the year because the leaves get so huge and can make a mess if it is left to rot in the garden.

anonymous on July 13, 2012:

I don't have rhubarb in my garden but want to plant it next year :) We started with the garden last year and it's growing since then :) Gardening is so much work - I love it!

anonymous on June 29, 2012:

I just had to stop by and tell you of another way to freeze rhubarb that my sister was telling me she tried this year. Shell loves frozen fruit bars but not the price and had been making rhubarb sauce and came up with the idea to make it into rhubarb fruit bars. She picked up some of those popsicle or fruit bar forms you can buy almost anywhere and was in business. So far, she had only used the plain rhubarb sauce with a little sugar and cinnamon but thought she might try some with strawberry and rhubarb.

Joan Haines on June 22, 2012:

No, but I always try to get some whenever I can. I love the stuff!

ForestBear LM on June 12, 2012:

just returning for another visit to this wonderful resource

hartworks lm on June 05, 2012:

We grow a LOT of rhubarb and usually make it into jam with our garden strawberries or sometimes other fruits... mango-rhubarb had an exotic flavor. .. then we freeze the jams. But sometimes the rhubarb gets ahead of us. VERY good to know how easy the rhubarb is to freeze by itself!

SquidooDolls on June 05, 2012:

My mom grows rhubarb and I was wondering if it would freeze, thanks!