Learn how to properly store fresh rhubarb AND how to freeze it for using later. Take advantage of the glorious rhubarb season and don’t let any of these precious stalks go to waste! 

Photograph of rhubarb pieces scattered on a sheet pan.

It’s no secret I love rhubarb season, from my rhubarb curd and my rhubarb-lemon tart, to this buckwheat rhubarb bread and this boozy rhubarb ice, I can’t get enough of the tart stalk.

Because the thing is, I don’t mind running around the Farmers’ Markets searching for those ruby-red stalks, or calling every grocery store I can think of to ask when they expect to get some in. What really pains me is when I finally get ahold of this gloriously tart vegetable and I don’t have a plan. So it starts to wilt, go limp, and eventually go to waste.

One could argue I should just be prepared and know what I’m going to do with it. And, yes, you’re right, I should be prepared. But when life get’s in the way rhubarb should have the graciousness to wait for me, because well, I waited long enough for it!

So whether you’re lucky enough to grow rhubarb in your yard, or you rely on the local Farmers’ Market to get these ruby stalks, it’s important to store rhubarb correctly so it lasts until you need it. So let’s dive in and talk about how to store rhubarb and how to freeze rhubarb!

rhubarb stalks set on their side in a glass jar

How to store rhubarb for 1–2 days:

The jar method:

Simply fill a glass jar halfway with water and place rhubarb stalks, bottom end down, in water. Cover with a plastic bag (such as a produce bag) and refrigerate until ready to use. Rhubarb stored this way is intended to be used within a few days. If you don’t have room to store stalks upright, you can also store rhubarb stalks loosely wrapped in a plastic produce bag.

How to store rhubarb for a few weeks or up to a month:

The foil method:

Arrange rhubarb stalks on a large piece of foil. Loosely, yet snuggly, wrap foil around rhubarb stalks, gently crimping the ends (you don’t want it air tight) and place in the refrigerator until needed. Rhubarb should keep this way for at least a month, sometimes longer.

How to freeze rhubarb to use it months from now:

When I have leftover fresh rhubarb that I’m not going to get to, I like to freeze it!

  • Rinse rhubarb stalks with water and wipe dry.
  • Cut washed rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze until solid, about 3–4 hours.
  • Transfer frozen rhubarb pieces to resealable plastic freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to a year.
Photograph of rhubarb pieces scattered on a sheet pan.

How to use fresh rhubarb

A collection of recipes that showcase fresh tart rhubarb!

Have any cooking questions? Send me an email at zestfulkitchen@gmail.com. You can also contact me through FacebookInstagram.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. Thanks for these great tips! I rarely buy rhubarb because it always goes bad before I know what I’m going to do with it! I will have to check out your recipes, too!

  2. I tried the foil method and a mere 4 days later my rhubarb was covered in fuzzy mold!!
    What did I do wrong? Should I wash the mold off or toss it?

    1. oh no! I’ve never seen that happen with this method, I’m sorry to hear this. I know how treasured rhubarb is during the season!
      Were the stalks damp when they were wrapped up? Excess moisture would be my best guess. Secondly, I find the ideal way to wrap the stalks is to lightly pack the foil, if it’s too tightly packed natural gases cannot escape, cause degradation and wilt (but not usually mold which is the confusing part). I did a bit of research on this and found that the mold could have also originated in the plant and then it continued to grow post-harvest and become visible during storage.
      I hope some of these ideas help, this should absolutely not have happened and I am sorry to hear that. Most other well-known cooking sources also recommend storing rhubarb this way, so I’m a bit stumped!

    1. Hi Bill, I responded to your email but thought this answer could help other readers too, so I’m posting my answer here as well.
      I’ve given this some thought and the following method is what I would do:
      – Wrap the unwashed rhubarb stalks ever so snuggly in a large piece of foil. The rhubarb should breathe a bit, so make sure it’s not tightly crimped around the rhubarb.
      – Place the wrapped rhubarb in a styrofoam cooler or insulated box with some dry ice (make sure the dry ice is in a plastic bag).
      – Then make sure to expedite the package to ensure it’s only traveling for 3 days or so.