Rhubarb’s acidity is frequently used to counteract the sweetness of sauces, jellies, and baked goods. You might get more red and green stalks than you need for your recipe because they are sometimes sold in bundles.
Consider putting any extra rhubarb in the freezer or refrigerator so you can use it later rather than throwing it away. For 1-2 weeks, place the wrapped rhubarb in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. You might also freeze the cleaned and chopped stems for nine months. Then, to help it last for a long time, think about adding some sugar or simple syrup.
How to Store Rhubarb?
Rhubarb Preservation in the Fridge
Look for discoloration or other decaying indications on each rhubarb stalk. Firm and brilliant red or green in color, the rhubarb should be in good condition. Look for soft or black areas, which indicate that the rhubarb is beginning to deteriorate.
Any rhubarb that is substantially discolored or has an unpleasant scent should be thrown away. Remove any minor discolorations to assist keep the remainder of the stalk intact.
- When preserving the stalks, remove any fibers because they can be concealing discolored areas.
- To retain the texture and flavor of the rhubarb stalks, wrap them in aluminum foil. Cut a piece of foil at least twice as wide and one to two inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) longer than the rhubarb stalks in your bundle. Then, position your bundle of rhubarb in the center of the foil, which should be resting on a flat surface. Fold the foil’s edges around the rhubarb cautiously until it is encased.
- Avoid unnecessarily crumpling the foil’s edges since doing so will prevent the ethylene gas that the rhubarb produces from escaping. Your rhubarb will soften quickly in ethylene gas.
- When storing rhubarb in the fridge, foil is advised over plastic bags or plastic wrap. The foil is strong enough to prevent the rhubarb from drying out while allowing it to aerate enough to make it crisp.
- For 1-2 weeks, keep the rhubarb in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. To keep the rhubarb fresh and stop it from drying out, put it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Rhubarb could become bruised or develop black spots if something heavy or bulky is placed on the veggie.
- When ready to use the rhubarb, wash it with cool water. Any dirt or filth on the stalks can be removed using your fingers or a produce scrub brush. Afterward, use a clean cloth or paper towel to dry the rhubarb.
- Before attempting to cut the rhubarb, make sure it is entirely dry. The exterior of the rhubarb may become slick and challenging to handle if there is too much water.
- Trim the stalk’s bottom and leaves using a sharp knife. First, cut off and discard the stalk’s top leafy portion. After that, cut around 12 in (1.3 cm) off the stalk’s base to eliminate the tough, possibly burnt base.
- Rhubarb should continue to be sliced as necessary for your specific recipe.
- Any leaves on the rhubarb stalks should not be eaten or cooked. Oxalic acid is a poison found in the leaves.
- Check each rhubarb stem for rotting or discoloration. Verify that each stalk is firm and has a vivid red or green hue. Along the stalk, look for any soft or black patches. If the stalk seems overly discolored, chop off any minor rotten areas or discard the entire thing. Rhubarb that might be rotting shouldn’t be stored.
- While inspecting the stalks, take out any fibers that may be connected.
- To get rid of any dirt, wash the rhubarb under cold water and then completely dry it. Remove any dirt or filth from the rhubarb stalks using your fingers or a vegetable scour brush. Then use a paper towel or a fresh piece of cloth to dry each stem.
- Before cutting the rhubarb, ensure it is dry because extra moisture might make the outside difficult to handle.
- Cut each rhubarb stalk into pieces measuring 1 in (2.5 cm) using a sharp knife. One of the rhubarb stalks should be placed on a cutting board.
- Trim and discard the stalk’s bottom 12 (1.3 cm) and any leafy ends. The stalk should now be chopped into pieces that are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length.
- The rhubarb stalk’s leaves should not be consumed. The leaves have poisonous oxalic acid.
- Consider blanching the rhubarb to retain its color and flavor. Consider blanching the rhubarb pieces if you intend to freeze them for over three months. Rhubarb can still be frozen without being blanched, although the product will stay fresher if you do.
- Cut-up rhubarb should be placed in a pot with boiling water. Give the rhubarb one minute to boil. After that, delicately pour the pot onto a colander over the sink.
- Insert the colander for one to two minutes into an ice bath. The rhubarb won’t be able to continue to cook as a result. Lift the colander to drain it after that.
- Dry the rhubarb by spreading it out on a piece of paper or a clean cloth.
- On a prepared baking sheet, quickly freeze the rhubarb for two hours. Use parchment paper to cover a baking sheet. The rhubarb chunks should be arranged in a single layer. Afterward, put the sheet with the filled rhubarb in the freezer for two hours to freeze it.
- When storing the rhubarb pieces for an extended period in a freezer bag or container, flash freezing will prevent them from adhering together.
- Use plastic wrap to line the baking sheet if you don’t have parchment paper.
- Use a second lined baking sheet if you have more rhubarb than would fit on a single baking sheet.
- After the first hour, check on the rhubarb to ensure the pan did not crack from the temperature shift and that the pieces were properly freezing.
- Add granulated sugar to the partially frozen rhubarb to make it sweeter. Cover the chunks in sugar to keep the texture and sweeten the rhubarb.
- You don’t need to do this if you don’t want your rhubarb to be sweetened with sugar. Mix 1 cup (200 g) of granulated sugar with every 4 cups (400 g) of rhubarb. With a spoon, evenly distribute the sugar across the rhubarb pieces.
- Put the frozen rhubarb pieces in a freezer bag or container that can be sealed. Leave a headspace of about 1 to 2 inches (1.3 to 2.5 cm) in each packed container or freezer bag. This will explain the rhubarb’s growth when it finishes freezing. Next, thoroughly seal each container or bag before freezing.
- Avoid putting the rhubarb in a freezer bag if you want to add simple syrup. Consider freezing this sour vegetable in a simple syrup if you intend to use it in a dessert. To keep the texture and flavor, submerge the rhubarb in simple syrup. The syrup will offer a sweeter flavor to help offset the rhubarb’s tartness and help it maintain its texture. Add your favorite fruit juice, such as apple, peach, or grape juice, to the simple syrup to give it even more flavor.
- Four cups (950 mL) of water or fruit juice and 2 cups (400 g) of granulated sugar should be combined in a saucepan to make a light simple syrup. If you want a thicker, sweeter syrup, add additional sugar.
- Until the sugar is completely dissolved, bring the sugar and water to a boil and whisk continually.
- When the simple syrup is cool, pour it into a heat-resistant container and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- The chopped rhubarb jar should now have 1-2 cups (120 mL) of simple syrup. If more syrup is required to cover the rhubarb completely, add it.
- Put the rhubarb in the freezer for up to 9 months and label the containers. Mark the packaging using masking tape and a permanent marker to indicate the day you will be freezing it. When you attempt to defrost the rhubarb, you will be able to determine how long it has been frozen; thanks to this. After that, put the rhubarb bag or container in your freezer. To maximize freezer space, let your rhubarb bags rest flat.
- Frozen rhubarb should be placed in the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Depending on size, the container could take 1-2 days to thaw fully.
- If you used a basic syrup, stir it with a spoon when it has sufficiently defrosted and break up any lumps of ice, if any. This will hasten the process of defrosting.
How to Spot a Bad Rhubarb?
There are a few signs that something is amiss with your rhubarb. Examine the rhubarb’s appearance, color, texture, and scent to discover whether something is wrong.
It’s sour rhubarb, and you should discard it if you notice mold or other organic development. You can cut the affected bit of your rhubarb off and discard it if the mold is only present in a small area; but, if the mold has taken over a sizable portion of your rhubarb, you should discard the entire plant.
It’s important to note that since mold can cause mycotoxins to develop in the rhubarb, you shouldn’t sniff rhubarb that has visible mold. The mycotoxins in such rhubarb will upset your natural microflora and damage your immune system if you breathe in its odor.
Tossing your rhubarb if you notice any sizable dark brown or black stains are better.
It is recommended to discard the rhubarb if you find it unusually soft or mushy because it has become rotten.
It’s better to toss the rhubarb if you perform a sniff test and notice an off-odor or sulfur-like odor. Before you boil the rhubarb, rinse it. It needs to be solid and deep crimson. Boil it for around 40 minutes to keep its color and flavor. Please take it out of the freezer once it has been blanched and dry it. The rhubarb can be frozen if it’s still firm. To prevent spoiling, try a small portion of food before freezing.
Old Rhubarb: Can it Make You Sick?
Oxalate, present in rhubarb, is toxic and can be fatal if ingested in excessive quantities. Trim and discard the rhubarb leaves since they contain most of the oxalate. The stalks of rhubarb are hardly poisonous. High doses of oxalic acid can be detrimental to your respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular systems. Some reports claim that 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves would be required to produce a lethal dose.
Is Rhubarb Toxic When Frozen?
Let’s differentiate between rhubarb that has been frozen and rhubarb that has been frostbitten.
Rhubarb is immediately sliced and frozen after being quickly gathered in the spring and early summer. No leaves are present; the stalks are as crisp and fresh as the season allows. In addition to being available in frozen food sections of supermarkets, rhubarb can also be frozen at home. If you have a lot of healthy, fresh rhubarb stalks, you may slice them up, place them in a freezer-safe bag, and store them for up to 6 months.
Rhubarb that has been affected by frost but is still in the ground is called unharvested rhubarb. The texture is extremely fibrous, and the flavor is hardly detectable. Once it receives its first frost, the rhubarb’s stalks and leaves will go limp (mid-fall). It serves no purpose to eat that rhubarb.
To preserve rhubarb, keep it in a cool, dry place. Its leaves should be removed before storing. Avoid tightly wrapping the stalks and always allow them to breathe. Rhubarb goes bad quickly if they are wrapped tightly in plastic or paper. It’s best to store it in a refrigerator for up to a week. It will keep for a week but can go bad if you don’t use it within that time.