Selecting High-Quality Fruit Rhubarb:
Choose firm, crisp, brightly-colored stalks with good flavor and few fibers. There are red and green stalked varieties, so you can't always use color as an indicator. Large stalks will be tough. Stalks the thickness of your thumb are a good size for harvesting. Twist (don't cut) outside stalks to remove them. Preventing the plant from flowering and going to seed will prolong harvest.
Preparing for Freezing:
Wash stalks and remove all leaves. Trim and cut into 1-2 inch pieces or lengths you find suitable for freezing. Rhubarb can be frozen either raw or preheated. Heating rhubarb in boiling water for 1 minute and cooling promptly in cold water helps retain color and flavor.
Best Freezing Method(s):
Unsweetened (Plain) Pack
Pack cleaned and prepared rhubarb (either raw or preheated) tightly into suitable containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Pack prepared rhubarb (either raw or preheated) tightly into containers and cover with a medium syrup (3 cups sugar to 4 cups water). Leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing rhubarb includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers, heavy-duty aluminum foil and foil containers.
Maximum Storage Time:
10 to 12 months at 0ºF.
Because rhubarb is usually used for cooking, baking or making jams, the loss of texture during freezing is not important. Defrost rhubarb in the refrigerator or in the microwave according to manufacturer's specifications.
Tips & Shortcuts:
Rhubarb leaves contain a highly poisonous toxin called oxalic acid. Never cook with or eat the leaves and discard them safely away from children and pets.
Remove leaves from stalks and place in perforated plastic bags or wrap in plastic. Store 3 to 5 days.