What's a good size for rhubarb?

2ajsmamaJune 2, 2014

Think I'd like to freeze, faster than canning, though I don't have a lot of freezer space.

I picked some of my cousin's rhubarb today b/c it was hitting 80 - actually yesterday was pretty warm too, hope that didn't make it bitter.

Some stalks (I picked maybe 1/3 of them from smaller plant) are thin, about as wide as my finger. But the big plant (I picked over half, hope that was right) are much wider - over an inch. Are these OK? Tough? Bitter? Need to peel?

NCHFP doesn't have much info on selecting the stalks. Thanks

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I honestly don't know that there is an "ideal" size. I tend to leave the skinny ones on the plant and harvest the bigger thicker stalks. And no I never peel although I suppose that is optional. Just seems a waste of the good fiber stuff to me. It is going to get cooked one way or another anyway.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 11:46PM
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OK, won't worry about how fibrous it is. Just going to do a dry pack so can add sugar later in the recipe, chop and blanch before freezing is it.

Does anybody have a good recipe for strawberry rhubarb jam or pie filling? I want to make something once my strawberries come in. NCHFP has one with liquid pectin but mine is expired so I'd prefer powdered (I use No sugar kind) or no pectin at all. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 3:50AM
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Washed and chopped it all up. blanched for 1 minute and it's mushy - some pieces are disintegrating. Even the larger stalks are soft. I diced them pretty small for use in jam - should I have chopped them more roughly? NCHFP just says to cut length to fit the package to freeze in, but I didn't think I could use 4-6" frozen stalks in jam or pie. Don't know if there will be more later this month but what is the best way of freezing rhubarb if not using it fresh?

I had a huge bread bag stuffed with stalks, didn't weigh it but now after blanching it's down to about 1 quart yogurt container. Enough for 1 batch of jam, 1 crumble, or 2 strawberry rhubarb pies?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 5:35AM
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I just wash, chop, and freeze. No need to blanch. The large stalks like you've shown, I slice those pretty thin, maybe 1/8-1/4". Skinnier stalks I chop more like 1/2-3/4". I freeze in 2 cup portions in ziplock bags.

I made Strubarb jam a few months ago.
2 c strawberries
2 c rhubarb
4 c sugar
2 T lime juice (had fresh limes but not lemons)
1 pkg dry pectin

I got 6 jelly jars

I use an immersion blender on all my jams since we don't like chunks. I know you like the chunks. The frozen rhubarb will fall apart a bit, so you won't have intact pieces. But it's still discernible as rhubarb. If that makes any sense.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 6:20AM
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Well, I diced this about 1/4-1/2". NCHFP said color and flavor was better with blanching so that's what I did. If there's any more (I don't know how long you can pick it) before my cousin gets home I'll just freeze it raw (maybe she has some room in her freezer).

BTW, I sent you an email about the clearance pectin - offered to mail it if you want but need an address (since you're moving) and how much you'd like (if they still have it).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 7:07AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I don't blanch my rhubarb either, for no particular reason other than it's never occurred to me to blanch it. If the stalks are large, like the size of my wrist, I'll cut them lengthwise a couple of times after washing, then chop, freeze. I don't remove the skin.

Here in a cooler climate, rhubarb is good into August but I can't speak for those growing plants where there is some summer heat.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:04PM
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Just wondering since my cousin doesn't know much about rhubarb (she asked me if it would come back after it was mowed over), I know nothing. How hot does it get where you are in June/July? Around 80 here, we had a heat wave almost 2 weeks over 90 last July so summers seem to be getting hotter & drier, winters colder (though not necessarily more snow than when I was a kid).

Dave mentioned rhubarb gets bitter (? IIRC) when it gets hot but I don't know how hot is hot.

The size of your wrist? That's some big rhubarb!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 3:36PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Connecticut? I see there is a rhubarb festival in Sherman and a few other CT locations this coming weekend, maybe June can be considered your peak season.

I don't find a particular difference in bitter over tart with age but we really don't get hot here. 70's are considered very nice days for us with our cool Pacific influence. 80's take place occasionally but never more than about 2 days in a row and are not the norm. Temps in the 90's make the news as a weather event ;) Aug, Sept, early Oct can be our nicest - and driest - months and those are the weeks I don't find rhubarb producing. Although I have seen it in our farmers markets in early August many times.

"summer temperatures averaging less than 75 ðF / 24 ðC for vigorous vegetative growth. The Northern U.S. and Canada are well suited for rhubarb production. In the United states it grows best in the northern states from Maine south to Illinois and west to Washington state.

Rhubarb can not be very successfully grown in the southern regions of the United States, although there are exceptions. Rhubarb is a popular garden vegetable in northern areas of the United States but unfortunately will not do well in hot, dry summers of the south. If it survives the heat it will not grow well will produce only thin leaf stalks which are spindly and lack color. Rhubarb will wilt very quickly on hot days (over 90 ðF).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 5:18PM
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Hopefully we have the rest of June before we hit 90. I hate to think I ruined the only harvest my cousin will get this year.

Whoa! A few hours ago my forecast said 16 mph winds and I was worried about the tomato plants I still have hardening off, thought I'd keep an eye out (I've been bringing them in the past few hours to soak in the sink - not enough rain this past week and they're wilting - but putting them back out, just closer to house). Now I see Warning 60 (six-zero!) mph possible! Better get them in the garage!

Building a high tunnel, have hoops set in ground posts but not secured, no plastic on yet, hope that's OK - I have no way of getting them out by myself, DH and DS just headed to Scouts.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 5:41PM
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