I have been knocked for a loop with a kidney infection this week. Yuck. I am hoping to slowly get back into the swing of things without having to need a nap every few hours… Yeah, I’ve been pretty pitiful… It’s been so bad I am afraid of being accused of having a man cold! “Poor little bunny…”
I said a couple of weeks ago that my husband hates rhubarb with the burning passion of a thousand suns, however, the rest of us love it! So, I like to freeze some to prolong the torture harvest. I then can make jam with other fruits when they are in season (or when I have time and energy), make rhubarb strussel muffins, smoothies, rhubarb leather (I use the recipe with some tweeks in Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook), my grandma’s strawberry rhubarb custard pie… Mmmm… My rhubarb is now up enough to start harvesting this weekend. As I am still feeling a bit worn out, I am getting help to freeze some for later when I am more perky. I may have to make a pie, however. I have gluten free pie crusts made in the freezer that have to be used up, after all!
Head over to MJ’s for Freezer Food Friday and see what’s in her freezer. She has chicken stock this week. A great tip for us all. It very close to how I make mine, except I usually use my big roaster after I have cooked 3-4 chickens (freezing the chicken meat to use on salads, etc.) then toss in whatever I need to from my crisper in the fridge, basically using the roaster like a giant slow cooker.
Gently twist the outside rhubarb stalks to harvest them and remove leaves (leaves are toxic – DO NOT SAVE!) I try to harvest them when they are the thickness of my thumb or thinner. Stalks that are too thick may be tough or have lost flavor. Wash rhubarb. cut off any bad spots and slice your rhubarb into the thickness you prefer. I slice mine about 1/2 inch thick.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. Fill the baking sheet with rhubarb, smoothing the rhubarb out until it is in a single layer. Place the baking pan into the coldest part of the freezer. When the rhubarb is frozen, place in bags in amounts you will use. I like to freeze 2 cup or 4 cup bags as that is what most of my recipes call for. I also like to use my vacuum sealer to seal the frozen rhubarb to guard against freezer burn, however a heavy duty zip-close freezer bag also works well. Label bags with contents and date.
This freezing technique is called loose-pack freezing. You can open the bag, remove what you need and reseal. I use it for all berries and fruit, veggies, and meatballs. I like being able to remove what I need for a recipe without wasting the extra.
To use: You do not need to thaw rhubarb before using. If making muffins, etc., I simply stir the amount of frozen rhubarb needed into the batter and bake (as you would with frozen blue berries).
One way to use up that yummy frozen rhubarb:
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie
makes 2 servings
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen rhubarb
1/2 cup frozen banana pieces (I freeze banana in 1 chunk pieces)
1 cup dairy free yogurt (I use coconut yogurt)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar, or to taste
place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until very smooth.