I remember when my nanna would make her famous Rhubarb pie every thanks giving and Christmas from a little patch she would grow dab middle of the front yard. Since it was only a small little patch she had to conserve it for the rest of the years holidays, so she would often turn to Canning Rhubarb.
Of course there are a lot of methods when it comes to preserving Rhubarb. The easiest that comes to mind is of course, freezing. Rhubarb is one of those few veggies that freeze very well, and it might be a better method for most people to use than canning. I will get into all that further in this article but first i want to start off with canning because that’s one of my favorite methods to deal with Rhubarb preservation.
Step 1: Choosing the perfect Rhubarb from the harvest
Just like most veggies, When it comes to canning you want to choose only the strongest and freshest specimens. In the case of Rhubarb specifically, You should choose the ones that have a nice solid stalk. They should be nice and firm, Very crisp, like if you were to bend them they would snap, And of course, Try and get the most clean blemish free of the bundle. Although, you can just cut out any unsightly marks before the canning process.
Rhubarb leafs tend to look tattered and damaged, But don’t worry about that, the important thing is the stalk.
Step 2: Removing the leaves
Once you’ve chosen your best Rhubarb, your ready to start preparing it for the canning process. If your plan is to can them right away you should remove all the leaf matter completely. If you intend to do it another day, You should remove the majority of the leaf matter but leave a small bit of it so it stays fresh and snappy in the fridge.
Most people recommend that you can it the day you pick it, And I concur wholeheartedly. The best Rhubarb is canned when it’s at it’s peak freshness!
Step 3: Cut it up
Time to grab out your favorite knife and cutting board and get slicing. Basically you want them to be roughly 1 inch pieces. A little bigger or smaller should be fine. They should be generally uniform in size.
Toss is in a none reactive pot (stainless steel, glass, or glazed ceramic etc)
Step 4: Add sugar
There’s something magical about adding sugar to a fruit, all the flavors and juices jsut start seeping out and it’s quiet glorious. Oh wait rhubarb is a fruit??
No. Actually it’s a vegetable, But in many respects it’s treated at one, Especially with this sugar coating procedure.
So go ahead and add 1/2 cup of sugar for every 2 pounds of rhubarb. Let it sit and draw out that delicious juicy goodness for around 1 half hour.
Step 5: Boil it
Slap the Rhubarb onto the stove and get it to a boil in it’s own juices. Don’t add water. Let it cook until it’s nice and tender.
Step 6: Canning the Rhubarb
Rhubarb follows the same general canning rules as most other foods. Allow enough head space in the jar for expansion etc. Don’t over fill.
Step 7: Boil the jars
You don’t need a pressure canner for Rhubarb, It’s extremely acidic. So a 10 minute water bath will be just what you need to get these all sealed up and preserved.
Success! Canning Rhubarb isn’t hard, See!
You did it! You canned your awesome rhubarb. Now go make an awesome, sourly tart pie!
Check out our articles about Preserving eggs
Other preservative methods for Rhubarb
I did say in the intro that i would go into the other methods for preserving Rhubarb that don’t involve canning. So here is a list!
- Dehydrated Rhubarb
- Freezing Rhubarb
- Pickled Rhubarb
- Fermented Rhubarb
There may be some more niche methods as well, such as powdering and wine making. But those are beyond the scope of this article. Well except maybe powdering. What’s that, Like dehydrated + a blender? No biggy hehe.
This ones a no brainer. It’s the easiest method to preserving Rhubarb and should last well into a year. This is much easier than Canning Rhubarb.
- Remove the leaves just like you would in canning, except don’t leave any on at all since you are going to be freezing this right away.
- Slice up the Rhubarb into nice sized chunks, about 0.5-1.5 inches, it’s up to personal preference. Maybe you have a tiny mouth?
- Get some nice heavy duty double sealing freezer bags. You can also use a vacuum seal bag for some extra shelf life and freshness.
- Label it like your inner autism demands
- Toss it in the chest freezer
That’s it. Enjoy. Easy to take out pieces and throw them into smoothies, muffins, juices and anything else you can think of.
Prepare the Rhubarb the same way as the above examples, except when it’s time to cute them up make them smaller and thinner so they dry more evenly and quicker. (If you want the color to stay the way it is for more than a year, blanch them first for 2 minutes)
Depending on what dehydrator your using, Simply lay them out evenly on each sheet, leaving some space in between for the air to travel. Don’t over pack each tray and don’t let the Rhubarbs touch tips. it’s not just the tip ok.
Set the dehydrator to 57 Celsius, Or 135f in freedom units.
Allow the dehydrator to do it’s job for 8 – 15 hours, depending on the dehydrator you are using. You may need to adjust tray positions every few hours depending on how many you’ve got stacked, to make sure everything dries evenly. Top will always dry slower than bottom.. unless your dehydrator drys from top to bottom, that reverse that.. You heathen.
You can’t really over dry something so.. just keep going until it’s snappy.
Let em sit over night and stick em in a jar or container. Glass is preferred but you can use what ever you want. These will keep for over a year if you dehydrated them well.
Pickled Rhubarb with out Canning Rhubarb
This is pretty easy and only requires 3 ingredients. Rhubarb, Obviously, water and apple cider vinegar. It also takes salt and sugar but do those really count as ingredients? It’s only a tablespoon worth!
- 1 pound of Rhubarb and appropriate amount of jars, 2 8 ouncers in this case
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of Sugar, Granulated
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2/4 cup apple cider vinegar
You don’t have to cut them up for this one, Just cut reasonably long stalks and pack them upright into the jar, leave enough headroom.
In a pot boil the water, vinegar, salt and sugar for about 2-3 minutes. Mix well.
Pour the hot liquid into the jars over the Rhubarb. Remember your head space!
Seal the jar and let it chill out in the fridge for a few days. Boom pickled Rhubarb. Lasts for about a month. Enjoy!
Check out this awesome video of making Rhubarb Juice as well, made by Embracing Harvest