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The Best Way to Store Rhubarb

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2017

It turns out that the best method we’ve found for storing celery also works for rhubarb.

These days, rhubarb is available in many supermarkets from spring through summer. To determine the best way to store it, we trimmed and washed a few bunches and experimented with different methods. Leaving the rhubarb completely unprotected in the refrigerator caused the exposed ends to dry out, and the stalks turned limp within just a few days due to water loss. Sealing the stalks tightly in a zipper-lock bag or in plastic wrap caused them to soften in a few days as well. This is because airtight storage traps the ripening hormone ethylene, which activates enzymes that break down and soften the cell walls in many fruits and vegetables.

Though rhubarb and celery are unrelated, it turns out that the best method we’ve found for celery also works best for rhubarb: simply wrapping the stalks loosely in foil. The key is to wrap the stalks snugly enough to prevent the rhubarb from drying out—but not airtight (no need to tightly crimp) so ethylene can escape. Stored this way, our rhubarb maintained its juicy, ruby perfection for longer than two weeks.

THAT'S A WRAP: Wrap the rhubarb tightly enough to make a tidy bundle, but don’t tightly crimp the edges or the ethylene gas can’t escape.