What is Rhubarb? A brief history
Rhubarb is famous for its use in pies. It is no wonder it is also known as the pie plant.
Scientifically known as rheum rhabarbarum, this plant is believed to have originated in Asia, although the exact region remains a mystery. Nowadays, rhubarb thrives in cool, temperate climates around the world.
Unlike most plants that are entirely edible, the enormous leaves are not edible. They contain oxalic acid, hence are considered toxic. Only the ruby-colored stalks are consumed.
In Asian culture, rhubarb roots are an integral medicinal components. Since antiquity they were used for cleansing and purification.
Despite its tangy flavor, this tangy vegetable is loaded with essential nutrients.
Specifically, uncooked rhubarb stalks are rich in vitamin C, K, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium as well as calcium.
In addition, rhubarb is low in sugar, is fat-free and low caloric.
Storing vegetables appears simple. However, it may prove unsuccessful if you are not aware of how each vegetable is structured. Fresh rhubarb stalks become limp fairly quickly. The shelf life thus depends on how you store and handle them.
Here is how long it lasts when raw, cooked or preserved.
Shelf life of fresh rhubarb (in the fridge)
Rhubarb has ethylene, which hastens ripeness. As such, when refrigerating, avoid placing them near other fruits and vegetables.
In addition, the best way to store them is to loosely wrap the stalks in either foil or plastic wrap.
Avoid cramping them tightly in airtight bags. Cramping the stalks prevents ethylene from escaping, hence causes them to soften and become limp.
Moreover, you can freshen the stalks by placing in water, after a few days.
When well refrigerated, these stalks keep well for 2-3 weeks.
How long does raw rhubarb last? (In the freezer)
Rhubarb keeps well in the freezer. Before freezing, chop the stalks into smaller pieces for easier storage. There are plenty of freezing methods you can try:
- Flash freeze the pieces – spread the pieces in a baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Transfer into freezer bags and store.
- Blanch the pieces for 3 minutes in boiling water. Dip in icy water and pat dry. Pack the pieces into Ziploc bags and freeze.
- Pack the raw pieces in sugar syrup. This is important in preserving color, flavor and structure. Mix the pieces and syrup well before storing in bags.
- Use dry sugar pack. This entails coating the pieces in sugar, before freezing. It works the same as sugar syrup.
Whichever freezing method is appealing, you can enjoy this seasonal vegetable all year round. Well frozen raw rhubarb lasts for 1 year.
Shelf life of homemade rhubarb sauce (in the fridge or freezer)
Rhubarb sauce deteriorates faster than raw stalks. As such, refrigerate once it has cooled. Store in airtight jars and use within 1 week. Alternatively, freeze either in Ziploc bags or ice cube trays for up to 1 year.
How long does rhubarb compote last? (In the fridge or freezer)
Compote is made by cooking rhubarb slices in sugar syrup. Allow the mixture to boil for almost 10 minutes, until the slices are soft. For extra zest, add grated ginger and lemon juice. Serve over ice cream or frozen yoghurt.
Refrigerate and consume within 1 week.
For long-term storage, freeze in single portions up to 1 year. It freezes well as the sugar preserves its color and flavor.
How long does cooked rhubarb pie last? (In the fridge or freezer)
After biting into scrumptious freshly made rhubarb pie, I wonder who would leave some leftovers. Anyway, in case of remaining pieces, wrap in foil before refrigerating. In the fridge, it keeps fresh for 5 days. For longer shelf life, freeze in heavy-duty bags for up to 8 months.
Shelf life of rhubarb crisp (at room temperature or fridge)
Classic rhubarb crisp is a popular treat for any sweet-tooth. Store freshly baked one in the counter for 2 days. Ensure you wrap in plastic wrap. On the other hand, refrigerate and use within 4 days.
How long does freshly made rhubarb juice last?
Rhubarb is not only for pies, you can transform these tart stalks into sharp tasting juice. Simply stew slices in water until soft. Strain the contents, mashing the solids well to extract most of the juice.
When plain, this juice is extremely tart. Sweeten with sugar, dilute with water or use in cocktails.
Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, flash-freeze in ice cube molds and freeze for up to 1 year.
How long do rhubarb seeds last?
For any avid gardener, the shelf life of seeds is crucial in planning. For optimal usage, dry fresh rhubarb seeds, either in the sun or oven. Store in airtight bags in the pantry – away from direct heat and moisture.
These seeds keep well for 2 years.
Shelf life of rhubarb jam
Making preserves such as jam is effective for prolonging the shelf life. You can easily make jam at home. A simple rhubarb jam is made from stewing the stalks in water, sugar and flavors which balance out the tartness. Simmer for around 50 minutes and pour into sterilized jars while still hot. Seal and leave to process before storage.
Unopened jam keep well in the pantry for up to 6 months. Once opened, refrigerate and consume within 3 months.
How long does canned variety last? (Unopened and opened)
Canning is great for prolonging the shelf life of foods. Rhubarb is ideal for canning in sugar syrup. Canned type gives off a sweet-tangy taste and pairs well with sweet and savory treats.
Unopened cans keep well in the pantry for up to 2 years. On the other hand, contents of opened cans deteriorate quickly – consume within 1 week.
It is easy to spot spoiled rhubarb. Here’s how:
- Limp, shriveled, mushy stalks
- When exposed to harsh, cold temperature, the stalks become blackened.
- Off odor