Harvest rhubarb and freeze: That's how it's done

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Slightly sour, but very refreshing: The stems of rhubarb have an unmistakable taste. In May and June you can harvest and freeze the delicious vegetables or directly to delicious desserts, jams and cakes. How good that rhubarb is an uncomplicated and easy-care plant that grows in every garden and even on the balcony!

There are a number of varieties, which can be divided into three groups: green varieties of green meat (for example, 'Goliath') develop into large plants with high yield. For that they are relatively angry. Mild red varieties and green meats are much milder (for example, 'Frambozen Rood'). Finally, the third group has both red stems and red flesh that is tender and low in acidity (for example, 'Holsteiner Blood'). The red-stalked varieties are also referred to as "raspberry" or "strawberry" rhubarb, because their aroma is reminiscent of berries.

Harvest rhubarb properly

While you use the tender red-meaty rhubarb stems completely, you usually have to peel older green-meaty varieties. Even when capping the stems you notice if they are fibrous. The threads can be removed with the knife. Generally, the older the stems, the more woody. Harvest the stems therefore still young, as soon as the leaves have unfolded. However, to avoid weakening the perennial, you should not harvest more than half of the leaves.
Tip: In the meantime, there are also varieties of rhubarb that can often be harvested from April to late into October: the so-called autumn Rharbar. Strong-growing varieties such as 'Livingstone' can also be harvested in the first year.

Harvest rhubarb

Tear the rhubarb leaves out with a jerk. If you cut them off, the remaining leaf lobe tends to rot

Freeze rhubarb

If your harvest is so abundant that you can not use all the rhubarb at once, you can easily freeze it. Clean the stems as usual, peel and cut into small pieces. They are then placed directly in a freezer bag and frozen. If you have plenty of space in the freezer, you can also lay each piece in a tray first and let it freeze for about two hours before moving it into a freezer bag. This procedure has the advantage that it is easier to remove the individual pieces later. Frozen rhubarb lasts for about a year.

How long can you harvest rhubarb?

The harvest usually starts in May. Once the petioles are thick enough, you can harvest the rhubarb. After the St. John's Day on the 24th of June, no rhubarb is usually harvested. On the one hand, the plants now need time to recover from the harvest, on the other hand, the oxalic acid content in the stems also increases. The concentrations are harmless to health, but detrimental to the taste. The rest of the year, the large leaves of rhubarb decorate the garden. Further care is usually not necessary. Tip: For strong plants, let one of the impressive flowers stand in the ornament.

Successfully grow rhubarb

Rhubarb is a sturdy plant that is rarely attacked by pests or diseases. Best plant it in a sunny spot. But he also gets along in the light shade, for example, under a small fruit tree. What is important is that it grows in loose soil where its root system can fully develop. The large leaves evaporate a lot of water, but well-rooted plants usually do not need watering. Only in dry weather in spring should you reach for the watering can. This benefits the quality of the stems, because when there is a lack of water, they become woody.

rhubarb flower

The beautiful flowers of rhubarb are rarely seen, as they cost the plant strength and should be broken out early. One or two flower stems can be left in June, but they will be an eye-catcher in the vegetable garden

For the mighty foliage that rhubarb develops every year, it needs enough nutrients. Distribute around three to five liters of mature compost around the plant to release in March. Alternatively you can fertilize with horn shavings or horn meal: Give a handful twice in the spring and work it lightly in the ground.

Rhubarb as a potted plant

Rhubarb is easy to grow in pots on the terrace or on the balcony. If you bring potted rhubarb to the greenhouse in February, it drifts out and can be harvested weeks earlier. However, the so-called driving the plant requires strong and should therefore be done only every two years.

Rhubarb in the pot

The rhubarb is also well suited for balcony and terrace.Especially in the summer he needs because of the high evaporation over the big leaves but much water. The pot substrate should be loamy and humus rich

For the rest of the year, place the pots half buried in the garden, preferably lightly shady. There they are cared for normally. If the plants are standing on the balcony all year round, they should get spacious tubs. They thrive best in partial shade with very good water supply - regular watering is mandatory, so that the large leaves do not dry up! A thin mulch layer on the pot ball lowers the evaporation. Rotstielige varieties such as 'Holsteiner blood' are the best for growing in a pot. They do not grow as tall as the greenish forms.

Video Board: Rhubarb - How to harvest, clean and freeze it.

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