Rhubarb stalks are used by a lot of people in cooking and baking recipes, though they are rarely eaten on their own.
As such, when you buy a bunch of rhubarb, it’s unlikely that you’ll use it all in one go, so you’ll be wondering how to store rhubarb.
You’ve come to the right place! We’ll talk you through how to store rhubarb, how to tell if it’s gone bad, and how long you can expect your rhubarb to last.
Here’s the lowdown: Rhubarb is best stored in the refrigerator, ideally wrapped in foil. That way, your rhubarb will last for about two weeks!
Rhubarb Storage Instructions
Rhubarbs are almost always sold fresh and often with leaves attached. You must remove the leaves first as they are toxic; only the stalk is edible.
Generally, it’s best to store rhubarb in the fridge, though there are other options. Rhubarb can be kept at room temperature or in the freezer, though how you store it will affect how long it lasts.
If you’re keeping rhubarb at room temperature, it’s fine to be left on the counter, though this will give it the least amount of time in its prime.
It’s also best to leave rhubarb unwrapped on the counter. If wrapped, this will trap in the ripening hormone ethylene, which breaks down fruit and vegetables.
For best results, store rhubarb in the fridge, ideally wrapped in foil.
Lay the rhubarb stalks out on a large piece of foil and wrap them loosely, but ensure they’re snug. Crimp the ends of the foil, ensuring it’s not airtight, then place it in the fridge.
You can also keep rhubarb in a plastic bag inside the fridge, though ensure the bag is perforated to allow for some air flow to the rhubarb to help keep it fresh for longer.
If your rhubarb stalks are cut up, you could store them in an airtight container inside the fridge, though they’re likely to go bad a little quicker.
How Long Does Rhubarb Last?
When left at room temperature, the longest rhubarb will last is about a week, though you’d be lucky if it reached that stage.
Usually, rhubarb will go bad after 3 or 4 days if stored at room temperature, but this also depends on the temperature of the room it’s in; the cooler the room, the better.
If wrapped in foil and stored in the fridge, rhubarb remains fresh for over two weeks, sometimes as long as a month. When stored in a perforated bag, it will last for a similar amount of time, though likely a little less.
Try to keep rhubarb away from any ethylene-producing fruits or veggies in the fridge, as they’ll only make it go off quicker.
It’s also important to note that if the rhubarb wasn’t refrigerated in the store, it won’t last as long for you, so be sure to keep an eye on it around the 2-week mark.
Rhubarb stalks cut into pieces, however, will not last as long. In the fridge, they’ll remain good to eat for roughly 2-4 days.
Signs Rhubarb Has Gone Bad
The ends of rhubarb stalks tend to go dry quite quickly when kept at room temperature, so don’t fret too much if you notice this.
However, should a small amount of mold appear at the ends, cut them off about two inches up just to be safe. If you’d rather not risk it, chuck the rhubarb out.
If there is a significant amount of mold on the stalk, throw it away.
Rhubarb stalks are very firm, so if there is softness or mushiness, it has gone bad and shouldn’t be eaten. Large black or brown spots are a similar sign that the rhubarb is off.
The vegetable might also produce an off smell once it’s gone bad. If your rhubarb is giving off a strong scent, throw it away.
Can You Freeze Rhubarb?
Like a lot of fresh produce, rhubarb is suitable for freezing and can retain its freshness for up to a year if stored this way correctly.
You can put rhubarb straight into the freezer if you wish; just cut the stalks to a size that will fit into an airtight container or freezer bag you have, place them inside, and freeze.
However, for best results, it’s worth doing a bit of prep work first, though this is entirely optional.
You can blanch the rhubarb first; boil the stalk pieces in water for a few minutes, then submerge them in some cold water and pat them dry.
It’s also a good idea to flash-freeze the rhubarb before storing them in the freezer for the long term.
To do this, lay the stalks or stalk pieces out on a lined baking tray and place them in the freezer until they’re all frozen – this should take a couple of hours.
Place all the stalks or pieces into an airtight container or freezer bag and store this in the freezer for up to a year. It’ll be safe to eat indefinitely, but the quality of the rhubarb will decrease after a year.
In Conclusion: Rhubarb
If you’ve bought your rhubarb fresh, the most important thing to remember is to remove the leaves before you do anything, as they are toxic and cannot be eaten.
The best way to store rhubarb is wrapped loosely in foil and kept in the fridge. It’ll stay fresh for around two weeks, sometimes longer.
Rhubarb will keep its freshness in the freezer for up to a year, though it helps to prepare the vegetable before freezing.
Keep an eye out for mold, mushiness, and an off smell coming from the rhubarb stalks – these are all signs that it’s gone bad and should be discarded.