If your freezer has no more room for frozen rhubarb, and you don’t have the time to can it, you can dry it instead! It takes very little labour and time to prepare it for drying.
The stalks are the only part you use of rhubarb. Harvest with a twist and pull, rather than a cut. Harvest up to one-third of a plant at a time. You can start harvesting in the spring and continue through till the end of summer. Stop at the start of fall to let the plant pull energy back down into its roots for the next season.
See also: Rhubarb powder
Yields and Equivalents
1.75 kg (4 lbs) rhubarb as procured (no leaves, but untrimmed) = 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) rhubarb, fresh, trimmed = 12 cup fresh, trimmed & chopped into 2 cm (1 inch) pieces = 2 3/4 cups dried pieces = 120 g (4 oz) dried pieces
Preparation: Remove and discard leaves (do not attempt to use leaves – toxic). Trim ends of stalks. Wash stalks. Cut into pieces 2 to 3 cm (1 inch) long. Wash pieces again. Spin dry in salad spinner, or pat dry in clean towel. Arrange on drying trays.
Temperature: 135 F / 57 C
Time: “Until leathery.” Time estimate can be up to 12 hours, depending on humidity in your area.
Notes: 1.75 kg (4 lbs) will fill 4 standard Excalibur drying trays
Reference: Excalibur. Preserve it naturally. 4th edition, 2012. Page 42.
Quality rating: The Excalibur manuals rate the quality of dried rhubarb as good, as does So Easy To Preserve. 6th Edition. 2014. Page 342.
Let the dehydrated product cool completely to room temperature before packing it into storage containers.
Watch the sealed containers for the first few days for any sign of condensation. If condensation occurs, dehydrate a bit more.
Label jar with name of product and date. Store away from heat and direct light.
Use dried rhubarb for sauces, add to pie and tart fillings, eat out of hand as a snack. Or grind for rhubarb powder.