Learn how to freeze and then process rhubarb with step-by-step instructions
Rhubarb, a popular vegetable and a real treat, especially in the warm months. But what should you do when the rhubarb season is over and you want to enjoy the rhubarb aroma all year round? The solution is simple: freeze rhubarb!
The rhubarb season extends from April to June 24th, and rhubarb should not be harvested after that. There are two important reasons for this. On the one hand, the plant needs regeneration time in order to deliver a rich harvest the following year. On the other hand, the oxalic acid levels in rhubarb increase significantly after this time.
Rhubarb naturally contains a significant amount of oxalic acid. This acid should be consumed in moderation as it can hinder the body's absorption of minerals such as calcium. The oxalic acid is mainly concentrated in the peel of the rhubarb stalks, which is why it should be peeled before consumption. However, it is worth noting that you do not necessarily need to peel young plants at the beginning of the season.
Despite this oxalic acid concern, rhubarb is an extremely healthy vegetable. Among other things, it is rich in vitamin C, potassium and the fiber pectin, which makes it a nutritious addition to your diet.
Can you freeze rhubarb?
Yes, you can freeze rhubarb without worry. This simple method makes it possible to have fresh rhubarb available all year round. You can choose whether you want to freeze it raw or blanched. Freezing rhubarb significantly increases its shelf life, as it remains edible for ten to twelve months when frozen.
However, if you plan to process rhubarb in the near future, you can alternatively store it in the refrigerator for several days. To do this, wrap it in a damp cloth to preserve its freshness.
Freezing rhubarb: step-by-step instructions
Freezing rhubarb is a straightforward process that allows you to preserve the freshness of this delicious vegetable all year round. Here is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Prepare and cut rhubarb
The first step in freezing rhubarb is thorough preparation. Start by rinsing the rhubarb thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt and impurities. Next, trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks, making sure to remove any leaves as they are poisonous. If you want to remove the skin from the rhubarb, place a knife at one end and carefully peel away the skin, similar to peeling celery. Alternatively, you can also use an asparagus peeler. Then cut the prepared rhubarb into pieces. Smaller pieces are suitable for rhubarb cakes, while larger pieces are ideal for making rhubarb jam.
Step 2: Blanch rhubarb (optional)
Blanching rhubarb before freezing is optional, but has two advantages: firstly, it lowers the oxalic acid content of the rhubarb and secondly, it preserves the freshness and color of the rhubarb. However, the intermediate step has no effect on the shelf life or taste of the rhubarb.
To blanch the rhubarb, dip the prepared pieces in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then immediately cool in ice water. Be sure to remove the water immediately after blanching as the oxalic acid will leach into the water.
Step 3: Freeze rhubarb
After preparation and, if necessary, blanching, you should spread the rhubarb pieces in a shallow bowl or on a baking tray and place them in the freezer. After about two hours, you can repack the frozen pieces in airtight containers or freezer bags. This method prevents all the pieces from freezing together into one large piece. It is therefore also advisable to use several containers or bags to make later portioning easier.
An important recommendation is to label the individual portions with the freezing date so that you can keep tracking. Note that the rhubarb will start to lose its flavor after about six months. Therefore, it is advisable to use it within this period to ensure the best quality.
What can frozen rhubarb be used for?
Frozen rhubarb opens up a variety of ways to enjoy the refreshing taste of this vegetable all year round. When using thawed rhubarb, keep in mind that it often loses some juice and becomes slightly mushy. However, this does not affect its usability, as you can bind the released juice by adding starch when processing it. Frozen rhubarb is particularly popular in cakes and compotes. When baking cakes, you should make sure that the rhubarb is completely thawed and drained beforehand in order to achieve the best possible result.
Additionally, frozen rhubarb can be used in a variety of other recipes. Including rhubarb crumble, rhubarb fruit compote, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb juice and even homemade rhubarb ice cream.
Freezing or boil down? What is better?
The decision between freezing and preserving rhubarb depends on your individual preferences and needs. Freezing makes it possible to preserve the freshness of rhubarb for a longer period of time and to use it in a variety of recipes. When boiled, however, the rhubarb is preserved and can be consumed directly in the form of jam or compote. Ultimately, the choice depends on how you prefer to enjoy your rhubarb.
Cooked rhubarb compote can also be frozen, although it should be completely cooled first. However, it is not absolutely necessary to freeze rhubarb compote in order to store it for a long time. If sterilized and clean jars were used when preserving and the compote is stored in a cool and dark place, it will last for several months and even longer than frozen rhubarb pieces.
Freeze rhubarb and enjoy it all year round
Freezing rhubarb is an easy way to enjoy this refreshing flavor all year round. With our step-by-step instructions and the variety of uses in cakes and jam, you have full control over your rhubarb supplies. Whether you choose to freeze or preserve, one thing is certain: your taste buds will be delighted with rhubarb in all seasons.