How to store rhubarb? (3 tips)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How to store rhubarb?” with an in-depth analysis of the proper storage of rhubarb. Moreover, we will also discuss what is the shelf life of rhubarb, as well as what affects its shelf life.
How to store rhubarb?
Rhubarb stalks should be stored unwashed in an open glad zipper bag in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. The optimum temperature to store rhubarb is 0 °C (32 °F) with 95-100% relative humidity (1).
You can also freeze rhubarb and extend its shelf life. Wash and trim the rhubarb, blanch it by quickly immersing it in boiling water for 2 minutes and transferring it to ice water. After this, arrange the pieces on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until they froze. Then, transfer the rhubarb into an airtight freezer container and store it in the freezer at -18 °C (2).
Is it possible to store rhubarb after cutting it?
Yes, it is very easy and simple. Following are the steps involved in it (3):
- Just cut the rhubarb, wash them and dry the stalks.
- Then just remove the tough ends
- Lastly, take a food protection container and place rhubarb in it.
- Store them in the refrigerator.
What is the shelf life of rhubarb?
Rhubarb can last at room temperature for a few days. However, if rhubarb is properly stored in the refrigerator, it can last for about 2 to 4 weeks. Rhubarb stored in the freezer has a shelf life of 8–12 months under constant lower temperatures (1,4).
What affects the shelf life of rhubarb?
Moulds and bacteria can proliferate on the surface of rhubarb, leading to spoilage. Colletotrichum erumpens can cause anthracnose disease leading to oval, soft, watery lesions. The Bacterium Pseudomonas marginalis can cause a soft, slimming decay (1).
Enzymes in rhubarb, such as pectinase and polyphenol oxidase, can cause texture and colour change through the breakdown of cell walls and oxidation of compounds (5).
Exposure to oxygen, moisture, and high temperature can accelerate the enzymatic process, leading to faster deterioration and microorganism growth (1,6,7).
How to tell if rhubarb has gone bad?
To tell if rhubarb has gone bad, you should look for the signs of spoilage, checking appearance, texture, and flavour.
Visually, signs of degradation include browning or darkness of the stalks. The mushiness and sliminess texture is another sign of spoilage that you might notice (1,7).
Microbial spoilage is evident through the growth of visible moulds or an off-putting odour caused by the metabolic by-products of bacteria or yeasts (1,7).
Additionally, off-flavours or sourness are also indicators that your rhubarb is spoiling, and you should discard it to avoid microbial contamination (7).
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to store rhubarb?” with an in-depth analysis of the proper storage of rhubarb. Moreover, we also discussed what is the shelf life of rhubarb, as well as what affects its shelf life.
The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 533-534.
Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
How should I store cut fruit and vegetables?. USDA, 2023.
Garden-Robinson, J. Food Storage Guide Answers the Question: How long can I store. North Dakota State University Extension Service, 2013.
Taranto F, et al. Polyphenol Oxidases in Crops: Biochemical, Physiological and Genetic Aspects. Int J Mol Sci. 2017, 10;18(2):377.
Qiu Y, Zhou Y, Chang Y, et al. The Effects of Ventilation, Humidity, and Temperature on Bacterial Growth and Bacterial Genera Distribution. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(22).
Barth, M., et al. Microbiological Spoilage of Fruits and Vegetables. In: W.H. Sperber, M.P. Doyle (eds.), Compendium of the Microbiological Spoilage of Foods and Beverages, Food Microbiology and Food Safety, Springer, 2010.