Rhubarb is famous for its thick stalks and sour taste and is sweetened while cooking. The stalks of rhubarb vary in color from pale green to pink to red, and its consistency matches that of celery. This vegetable is mainly found in temperate and mountainous regions because they require cold winters to grow.
Rhubarb, having a sour taste, is rarely eaten raw; instead, it is used as an ingredient or cooked with sugar. Sweet rhubarb pies are a traditional dessert in North America and the UK. Hence it is also known as the ‘pie plant.’ Dried roots of rhubarb are used in traditional Chinese medicines.
How To Store Rhubarb
Vegetables and fruits are well stored if they are not overly ripened. Rhubarb is considered both a vegetable and a fruit. If you enjoy eating rhubarb in the cold winters and have bought a large stock of it, you might be wondering about how to store it for a longer period.
It is important to select the right quality of rhubarb you wish to store. The leaves attached to the stalks of rhubarb tell you about the health of the vegetable. If the leaves are yellow or withering, it means that rhubarb is not fit for storing purposes. Look for fresh leaves and firm stalks before purchasing.
Remove The Leaves Before Storing
Rhubarb leaves contain oxalate, and a high oxalate content can be a threat to your health. It is better to avoid eating it neither cooked nor raw. Cut the leafy top to leave just the colored stalks of rhubarb, which are to be stored. The leaves can be used for decaying or fertilizing purposes.
Keep At Room Temperature
You can leave the rhubarb stalks on the counter if you wish to use them within a week, don’t wrap them to prevent bacterial growth.
Keep In Moist And Cold Place
Rhubarb stalks require 95% humidity and a cold environment to keep them fresh for longer. Refrigerators can provide a cold environment, but the air is relatively dry inside. Therefore, to provide humidity, wrap the rhubarb stalks in damp paper or cloth towel and keep it inside a plastic bag containing small holes in it.
This way, it can be kept in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer, and both the conditions will be fulfilled.
Refresh The Stalks Before Use
Once you wish to use it, refrigerated stalks of rhubarb must be kept in a glass of water for refreshing before you cook them.
Can You Freeze Rhubarb
If you want to wait for the strawberries to pair with rhubarb, it is best to freeze it until you have many strawberries to enjoy it with. You can freeze rhubarb after blanching it, or you can also freeze it raw. Fresh rhubarb brought from the market needs to be washed first, and the leaves should be removed.
Slice the rhubarb stalks into pieces, keep them inside the Ziploc freezer bag and press it to remove extra air. Spread the rhubarb pieces inside the Ziploc over a baking sheet in an even layer, seal the packet, and freeze.
How Long Does Rhubarb Last
The quality and storage conditions provided are great when you want to know how long your vegetable will last. If you have chosen a fresh piece of rhubarb, you can leave it at the counter at room temperature unwrapped, and it will be good for 5 to 7 days on the counter. Remember to remove the leaves first; it helps increase the shelf life of rhubarb stems.
If you keep rhubarb stems inside the cupboard, it’s better to use them within three days. For better shelf life, rhubarb stalks stored inside the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp towel, will last for about two to four weeks inside the vegetable drawer. Cut stalks of rhubarb can last for 2 to 4 days inside the fridge. If you freeze rhubarb with or without blanching, it will remain fresh inside the freezer for up to 8 to 12 months.
How To Tell If Rhubarb Is Bad
It is important to identify if your vegetable is going bad to prevent any health hazards. Some of the warning signs that need to be taken into account are as follows:
- Mushiness: Rhubarb stems are very firm; if it appears soft and mushy it means they are overripe and unsafe for use.
- Appearance: If you observe dark brown or black spots on it, the time has come for it to go.
- Mold: On rhubarb, mold appears sooner than expected. If the mold is on the edges of a few stems in stock, you can remove those with mold and save the rest. But if mold appears on a large part of the stalk, it’s better to throw it out completely.
- Odor: If an off smell comes from the rhubarb stems, then it has gone bad.