Rhubarb, that early rising perennial that you can completely ignore and know it will keep coming back in garden zones 3 to 8. With such a prolific producer, the more ways to preserve and use rhubarb you know the better!
Rhubarb is so tart, it is usually mixed with berries and/ or lots of sugar and used in desserts, but it really has so many more uses! Harvest and you’ll have enough rhubarb to preserve it for the whole year.
Ways to Preserve and Use Rhubarb
Jams and Butter
While straight Rhubarb Jam is delicious, there are so many more varieties to make! Whether it’s a Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Jam, or you can add some jalapeños for some heat. Try mixing in a variety of berries or pineapple to change the flavor. How about out this easy method of making Crockpot Rhubarb and Strawberry Butter! Prefer straight rhubarb? Check out this Rhubarb Butter! As always, make sure to use the correct canning procedures.
A Rhubarb Simple Syrup is a great way to add flavor to baked goods, yogurt, kombucha, or thicken up a sweetened rhubarb juice to make a syrup for pancakes and waffles!
Sweet rhubarb sauces are delicious on ice cream or cheesecake, but how about this Spicy Rhubarb Sauce? Add it to your oatmeal or even in a barbecue sauce! Be sure to add a Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce to your summer pantry too!
There are a couple methods of making “rhubarb juice.” One is to boil pieces of rhubarb in water with some sugar to extract the flavor and to sweeten it. Another is to simply put it through a juicer in 4 to 5 inch long pieces. Due to its fibrous nature, you’ll have to clean out the juicer blades after four or five stalks. I’ve heard that cutting rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and then freezing it first will give you more yield when you then put it through a juicer. Choose which method works for you.
Delve into the world of homemade wine and you’ll always have a well-stocked wine cellar (cause we know we all want one of those!) It may take some time, but this sweet fruity wine is well worth it.
Fermenting food has been a preservation method around the world for years, and people are again realizing it’s amazing gut health benefits. Add Fermented Rhubarb to that list and you can eat it right from the jar or make a probiotic lemonade with it!
Rhubarb Ice Cream. Need I say more? Yum!
Freezing rhubarb is one of the easiest ways to preserve it. Simply cut into bite sizes, fill a freezer quart bag, squeeze all the air out, and toss in the freezer. Thaw later to make pies, crumbles, muffins, juice, and more. Some people prefer to blanch it for one minute in boiling water to help preserve the color and then freeze it.
Looking for more rhubarb recipes? The Cooperative Extension Service in Alaska has all sorts of yummy ones!