How to Freeze Rhubarb

Three jars filled with individually frozen pieces of cut rhubarb standing on a kitchen towel.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Freezing2 hours
You'll be able to make your favorite strawberry-rhubarb crisp, jam, or pie any time you like once you learn how to freeze rhubarb!

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Rhubarb is such a wonderful gift of early spring. Before any other fruits or vegetables are showing up in the farmers’ market or our garden, rhubarb is there with its colorful stalks and tart flavor!

Unfortunately though, rhubarb’s cutting season is relatively short. After a few weeks of clipping, it’s important to let rhubarb recoup for next year’s crop. So what if you want to eat rhubarb in July? Freeze it! Rhubarb freezes beautifully, and all the ways you’d use fresh rhubarb—from jams to pies—work just as well with frozen rhubarb.

Close-up of fresh rhubarb stalks arranged horizontally in an alternating red and green pattern.

Can I freeze fresh rhubarb raw?

Sure can! In fact, that’s how we prefer to freeze it for the best texture and color.

Teach me how to freeze rhubarb!

Freezing rhubarb is almost as fast and easy as freezing strawberries. Here’s all you need to do:

1. Prep the rhubarb. Remove the leaves (they aren’t safe to eat), and cut off any rough ends. Rinse the stalks with cool water, and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Overhead of rhubarb stalks with their leaves trimmed off by kitchen scissors.

A wooden cutting board sits with a knife on it along with a pile of diced rhubarb, and a pile of half cut stalks beside it.

Wholefully Protip

Rhubarb leaves are high in oxalic acid, which is toxic to humans. Make sure to discard the leaves.

2. Freeze! Spread the rhubarb pieces out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the freezer until the rhubarb is frozen solid.

Overhead of cut rhubarb in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Overhead of frozen pieces of cut rhubarb on a baking sheet.

3. Move the rhubarb to freezer containers or bags. Transfer your frozen rhubarb to your storage container of choice (more on that in a sec!). Label and seal, removing as much air as you can.

Close-up of filling a mason jar with individually frozen pieces of rhubarb by the handful.

How do I store frozen rhubarb?

Take a peek into my freezer, and you’ll see that I use a variety of storage options for my frozen fruits and veggies. Here are my top four choices:

  1. Glass Food Storage Containers—I love these because they are reusable and look so nice stacked up in a freezer, but they do take up the most space out of all these storage solutions.
  2. Glass Canning Jars—These are a little easier to squeeze into nooks in the freezer than the storage containers above, but they still take up a fair amount of space. But, they are glass and reusable, and I always have them around! Be sure to only use freezer-safe jars—look for ones with straight sides.
  3. Zip-top Freezer Bags—Freezer bags are affordable, and you can find them at nearly any grocery store. However, they are single-use plastic, which isn’t my favorite for food storage.
  4. Vacuum Sealing Bags—Vacuum bags will save you the most space out of all of the options, but you will need to buy a vacuum sealer.

Close-up of two mason jars labeled and filled with individually frozen pieces of cut rhubarb, standing up on a kitchen towel.

How long is rhubarb good in the freezer?

Use rhubarb frozen in glass containers, jars, or zip-top bags within 8-12 months. If you vacuum seal your rhubarb, it can stay in the freezer for more like 2-3 years.

Wait though. Isn’t frozen rhubarb poisonous?

You may have heard not to harvest rhubarb after a freeze because it is toxic, and that’s true, but it’s not a problem here! Why? Well, the poisonous part of rhubarb are the leaves—they contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can make humans quite ill. That’s why you should never eat rhubarb leaves, or harvest rhubarb stalks after an overnight freeze.

Overhead of fresh stalks of rhubarb with the leaves still attached, fanned out on a marble countertop.

When a rhubarb plant gets hit by a freeze in the garden, the oxalic acid from the leaves moves down into the stalks of the rhubarb—making the entire stalk heavy in the toxin. This phenomenon doesn’t happen here because we cut off the leaves prior to freezing. Our rhubarb is perfectly safe to eat!

Close-up of individually frozen slices of rhubarb.

Now that I know how to freeze rhubarb, give me some tips for how to use it!

  • No need to to defrost your rhubarb before using in your favorite jam, crumble, or crisp recipe.
  • In recipes that call for fresh rhubarb, sub in frozen rhubarb at a 1:1 ratio.

What can I do with frozen rhubarb?

Frozen rhubarb works in almost every recipe that calls for fresh rhubarb. Here are two of our favorites:

 
Three jars filled with individually frozen pieces of cut rhubarb standing on a kitchen towel.

How to Freeze Rhubarb

Yield: About 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

You'll be able to make your favorite strawberry-rhubarb crisp, jam, or pie any time you like once you learn how to freeze rhubarb!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rhubarb

Instructions

  1. Remove the leaves (they aren't safe to eat) and trim the ends of the rhubarb. Wash the stalks and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Arrange the rhubarb stalk pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and freeze until solid.
  3. Move to freezer containers or bags, removing as much air as possible. Freeze until ready to use.

Notes

  • This can be done with any amount of rhubarb, as long as you keep it in a single layer on the baking sheet in the initial freeze.
  • Do not eat the rhubarb leaves—they contain a compound that is toxic to humans—freeze and eat only the stalks!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3.5 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 24Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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