Rhubarb season is here and many folks like to put some rhubarb away for later use. Rhubarb crisp, cakes and pies are favorites of many. The best rhubarb is found in the spring of the year when the new shoots are tender and full of flavor. While it is possible to can rhubarb sauce, freezing rhubarb is probably the better option.
Step 1. Pull or cut the rhubarb at the base of the stem. Remove and discard the leaves. Wash to remove any surface dirt and trim any undesirable spots.
Step 2. Dry the rhubarb well and cut it into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces.
Step 3. Spread the cut pieces on a tray or cookie sheet and place in the freezer until the rhubarb pieces are frozen. Transfer the frozen rhubarb into freezer bags, label and freeze. By using this method, you can take out the amount of rhubarb you need for a recipe and keep the remainder frozen until later.
While there are several differences of opinion about using rhubarb that has been frosted, because of the possibility of the tannins moving into the stem when the rhubarb has been hit by a frost, it is best to remove these stems and place them in your compost pile. Wait for new growth and use that for eating!
Stewed rhubarb may be canned in either a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner. If you prefer canning rhubarb, select stalks that are young and tender with good color. These stalks are from early spring or late fall growth. For 7 quarts of canned stewed rhubarb, you will need about 10 ½ pounds of rhubarb.
Step 1. To prepare the rhubarb for canning, trim off the leaves and clean the stems to rid them of any soil. Cut the stems into ½ to 1-inch pieces. Measure the rhubarb to determine how much prepared rhubarb you have and place it in a large saucepan.
Step 2. For each quart or rhubarb, add ½ cup of sugar and stir. Let the rhubarb sit until the juice has been drawn out of the fruit. Slowly, heat the mixture to boiling. Immediately fill the hot jars with the sauce and leave ½-inch of headspace. Add lids and rings.
Step 3. Process the filled jars (pints or quarts) for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner, begin timing when the water in the canner has returned to a full boil. If you prefer to process the rhubarb in a pressure canner, process either pints or quarts for 8 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
Following the directions for the type of canning you are doing, after the waiting time remove the jars to a wire rack or towels to cool. Check for seals, label and store.
*Note: this product is not overly sweet – you may want to add more sugar or other sweetening product when you are ready to use it.