My sweetie is a lover of rhubarb pie, so when friends offered us some rhubarb plants, we were ecstatic.
Not only does that mean we’ll have our own rhubarb to harvest, but they are such pretty plants, we’re using them as landscaping.
Putting Rhubarb By
The new plants we received were a bit too young to begin harvesting (we’ll wait ’till next year), but thankfully OMIL (the other MIL) has several large rhubarb plants and more than enough to share.
I crawled under the leaves and cut a number of stalks at the base with scissors. (Some folks twist and pull the stalks free.)
You’re looking for stalks starting at 10″-12″ and no more than 18″. Very large stalks can be woody, as can older stalks (stop harvesting by the end of June). Don’t take more than two-thirds of the stalks over the harvest season, remove any flower stems, and give your plants the rest of the year to recoup for next year.
Cut off the leaves (non-edible) and toss them in the compost heap.
Then rinse the stalks and cut them into pieces ½ inch or less. (You can cut them larger, but they will take longer to dehydrate.)
I measure out the rhubarb and put two cups of fresh pieces in a single layer on each tray.
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Once the rhubarb is actually dehydrated it’s very small. It would be difficult to know how much to rehydrate.
By pre-measuring and then putting the contents of each tray in labeled bags, I remove the guesswork and I’ll be ready to make pies. 🙂
I dehydrate my rhubarb at 135°F for eight or more hours (depending on the humidity). When the bits are dry and crisp throughout, I let them come to room temperature and store them in labeled snack baggies with a food-grade desiccant packet tucked in.
Dehydrated rhubarb can be stored for up to a year, retaining its color and general quality. If you have any concerns about that you can blanch the rhubarb (put pieces in boiling water for one minute and then into ice water before dehydrating). I don’t blanch because rhubarb won’t last that long around my house. 🙂
Cover your dehydrated rhubarb with boiling water and let it sit and soak for an hour. Drain off the water and use the rehydrated rhubarb in place of fresh or frozen rhubarb in any cooked recipe.
Rhubarb will not completely return to its fresh state when rehydrated, but it will plump back up and work well in pies and other baked goodies. It does pretty well in sauces too.
For me, one of the biggest perks is that it takes up so little space and it doesn’t take up room in my freezer. It’s a smart and easy way of preserving rhubarb for later use.
Related Reading: Gardening: What and How Much?
Growing enough of what you truly enjoy.
all photos © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead