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Rhubarb Juice

This guide will teach you how to make your own rhubarb juice concentrate. In just a few easy steps, you can have homemade rhubarb juice, no fancy equipment required – though if you have a steam juicer, it'll make the process much easier.

Rhubarb, to me, always signals the return of the growing season. It's one of the first perennial edibles to pop up in most people's gardens. And it's prolific. If you have more than one plant, you probably have too much rhubarb!

The tangy sourness of rhubarb is a refreshing flavor great for cutting the saccharine flavor of baked goods and sweetened drinks.

One of my favorite rhubarb things is probably strawberry rhubarb pie, but an ice-cold glass of rhubarb lemonade made with rhubarb simple syrup on a hot day might be the best thing ever.

This year, armed with my new steam juicer, I am trying something new.

This rhubarb juice recipe is dedicated to trying new things.

Sun shining through a bright red jar of rhubarb juice.

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Tips + Tricks

  • Rhubarb is in season from late spring to late summer depending on your climate and variety, but don't let that stop you if you're in the off-season because this recipe works great with both fresh and frozen rhubarb.
  • Rhubarb juice is suuuuper tart - so if you're drinking it, I recommend either cutting it with juice or adding sugar to make a simple syrup - OR try it in your homemade hard seltzer cocktails!
  • A pound of rhubarb stalks will yield 3 generous cups of rhubarb. If you're using a steam juicer, you don't need to chop as finely so that will be an important note.
  • The best time to harvest rhubarb for juice is near the end of the season - the flavor is unchanged but the stalks are generally larger and more fibrous (stringy) making them the perfect candidate for juicing vs baking.
  • Rhubarb leaves and roots are inedible and should be discarded or added to the compost pile. Avoid feeding rhubarb leaves to your pets (including chickens and pigs) because they contain large amounts of oxalic acid which can make them unwell.

Harvesting Rhubarb

The only star of this show is rhubarb, so we want to make sure that we harvest the best quality stalks possible.

While redder stems will produce a more vibrantly colored juice, there is no flavor difference between red or green rhubarb stalks. In fact, the stalk color is related to the variety of rhubarb instead of the flavor! If your goal is a bright pink juice, choose redder stems from plants like Crimson Red or Glaskin's Perpetual (this is the one we've started around the homestead!)

Harvest your own rhubarb stalks when they are between 7 and 15 inches long, diameter and color do not matter as the petioles (stalks) will be mature once they are long enough and easy to remove.

To remove the stalks, grasp them near the base of the plant and give a firm tug, and they will pop right off of the plant when ready.

Harvest only 1/3 of the plant at a time, then wait a week or two to harvest another third, and repeat until early to mid-July. Letting the plant grow unharvested stalks allows rhubarb plants to store energy and recharge for next year's growing season.

A bunch of rhubarb.

If you don't have a rhubarb plant, check your local farmer's market or grocery store in early summer, they often have locally grown rhubarb for sale!

How To Make Rhubarb Juice A With Steam Juicer

  1. Prepare the steam juicer for use by cleaning everything well in hot soapy water and rinsing well. Ensure the juice tube and clamp are securely fastened to the juice kettle.
  2. Fill the water pan of your steam juicer with the manufacturer's recommended amount of water - for mine, that's three-quarters full.
  3. Wash and trim 3 pounds of rhubarb. Chop into large chunks, 3-4" long.
  4. Place prepared rhubarb pieces in the vented food basket, place the food basket on top of the juice kettle cover with the lid, and place it on top of the water pan.
  5. Bring the steam juicer to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium heat. When steam begins to vent out the lid of the juicer, begin timing 90 minutes.
  6. During the juicing process, the juice will build up in the kettle, and once you notice the bright pink juice in the juice tube, place the tube in a large, clean half-gallon mason jar and drain the juice. You'll have to do this a few times, or place the jar in a spot that's lower than the juicer and remove the hose clamp.
    • The juice coming out of the juicer is extremely hot and can cause burns, I would be very cautious about placing the juice jar on a stool in front of the oven when there are other people in the house. I like to open a drawer next to my oven and place the jar right in the front. Then it's secure and I worry less about one of the kids or dog bumping it off a stool.
  7. Check the water pan regularly during this time, it is imperative to ensure you have sufficient water in the water pan.
  8. Once the timer is complete, allow the juicer to cool before carefully tilting the juice kettle towards the spigot to drain the remaining juice into the collection jar.
  9. Cover the juice and cool until room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer for storage. See canning directions below for long-term storage.
  10. The cooked rhubarb pulp can be fed to your pigs, in moderation to your backyard chickens, or added to your compost!

How To Make Rhubarb Juice Without Steam Juicer

  1. Wash and trim 3 pounds of rhubarb. Chop into 1-2" sections.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, rhubarb with 4 cups of water.
  3. Bring rhubarb and water to a boil over medium heat, once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is falling apart.
  4. Rest the cooked fruit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare a jelly bag, fine mesh strainer, or colander/ chinois by lining with two dampened layers of cheesecloth. Set your strainer over a large bowl to collect the juice.
  6. Pour the cooked fruit into the strainer and allow the fruit to drain undisturbed for at least 2 hours.
    • Avoid squeezing the fruit! This will cause a cloudy juice as it will force pulp through the strainer.
  7. Transfer juice to a clean, air-tight container before storing it in the fridge or freezer, or see canning directions below for long-term storage.
  8. The rhubarb pulp can be fed to your pigs, in moderation to your backyard chickens, or added to your compost!
Steam juiced rhubarb in a large mason jar.

How To Use Rhubarb Juice

There are so many great ways to use fresh rhubarb juice in the kitchen! Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

  • rhubarb lemonade - add some juice to your lemonade for a pretty pink, tangy lemonade
  • Rhubarb margaritas or rhubarb mojitos on hot summer days - the added flavor of rhubarb is so refreshing!
  • use it to make rhubarb jelly
  • turn it into a delicious rhubarb syrup by combining 1 cup of rhubarb juice with 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

The yield you get will be determined by the method you use to extract the juice! Steam juicing should give you between 5 and 7 cups of pure rhubarb juice while the boiling and straining method will yield a bit more, between 6 and 8 cups of juice. The boiled and strained juice will be more dilute than the steamed juice. If necessary, you can add clean distilled water to the steamed juice to make 8 cups.

Storage:

Your freshly extracted rhubarb juice can be refrigerated for up to 7 days or frozen for 6 months. As an added bonus, this juice can be canned for long-term storage.

Canning Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb is a high acid vegetable making it the perfect candidate for hot water bath canning, even without added lemon juice or sugar. If you've decided to can your rhubarb juice for future use, you're in luck cause it's super easy to do.

  1. Sterilize canning jars, snap lids, and rings.
  2. Meanwhile, bring rhubarb concentrate to a simmer.
  3. Ladle the simmered juice into sterilized, hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace, wipe rims of jars, top with a snap lid, and tighten screw bands finger-tight.
  4. Process in a covered hot water bath for 10 minutes (0-1000 ft), 15 minutes (1001-3000 ft), 20 minutes (3001-6000 ft).
  5. Remove the lid from the canner and turn off the burner. Allow jars to rest in the water bath for 5 additional minutes before removing them from the canner.
  6. Place on a heat-proof surface to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  7. Check seals on all jars, then wipe and label jars and place them in storage.

Any unsealed jars should be used immediately. Refrigerate rhubarb juice once opened.

Rhubarb juice in a half gallon jar.

Notes From The Homestead Kitchen

Making fresh rhubarb juice concentrate is a great way to preserve the fresh, tart summer flavor for future recipes. It's also an easy way to capture the flavor of a huge amount of rhubarb and condense it into a smaller space.

While this recipe requires no fancy equipment beyond a saucepan and jelly bag, it's actually much more enjoyable with a steam juicer! I picked up a second-hand steam juicer this year and it's made projects like this so quick and easy that I'm kicking myself for not getting one sooner.

As an added bonus, a steam juicer makes the juice super crystal clear - something that is darn near impossible using a jelly bag or chinois.

Overhead view of bright pink rhubarb concentrate.

Steam Juicer: Getting my hands on a steam juicer has been high on my to do list for a long time! You'll never imagine my surprise when I rolled up to a great little garage sale and found one. The owner was as happy to sell it to me as I was to buy it.

I didn't know at the time how much I'd come to love it. Turns out I really enjoy steam juicing. We've been playing with all sorts different recipes this summer.

It's a splurge item, for sure, but one that will really make your life much easier if you put up a lot of jellys, juices, and syrups.

Yield: 7 cups

Rhubarb Juice Concentrate Recipe

Sun shining through a bright red jar of rhubarb juice.

Preserve the flavor of summer by making fresh rhubarb juice! You can use rhubarb juice to make jelly, flavor lemonade, add to baked goods, flavor cocktails, and more. In just a few easy steps, you can have homemade rhubarb juice, no fancy equipment required – though if you have a steam juicer, it'll make the process much easier.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs rhubarb, approximately 9-10 cups chopped
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

How To Make Rhubarb Juice A With Steam Juicer

  1. Prepare the steam juicer for use.
  2. Wash and trim 3 pounds of rhubarb. Chop into large chunks, 3-4 inches long.
  3. Place prepared rhubarb pieces in the vented food basket, place the food basket on top of the juice kettle cover with the lid, and place it on top of the water pan.
  4. Bring the steam juicer to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium heat. When steam begins to vent out the juicer lid, begin timing 90 minutes.
  5. During the juicing process, the juice will build up in the kettle, and once you notice the bright pink juice in the juice tube, place the tube in a large, clean half-gallon mason jar and drain the juice. This will have to be done a couple of times to ensure the juice does not overflow the kettle.
  6. Check the water pan regularly during this time, it is imperative to ensure you have sufficient water in the water pan.
  7. Once the timer is complete, allow the juicer to cool before carefully draining the remaining juice into the collection jar.
  8. Cover the juice and cool until room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer for storage. See canning directions below for long-term storage.

How To Make Rhubarb Juice Without Steam Juicer

  1. Wash and trim 3 pounds of rhubarb. Chop into 1-2" sections.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, rhubarb with 4 cups of water.
  3. Bring rhubarb and water to a boil over medium heat, once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is falling apart.
  4. Rest the cooked fruit for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare a jelly bag, fine mesh strainer, or colander/ chinois by lining with two dampened layers of cheesecloth. Set your strainer over a large bowl to collect the juice.
  6. Pour the cooked fruit into the strainer and allow the fruit to drain undisturbed for at least 2 hours.
  7. Avoid squeezing the fruit! This will cause a cloudy juice as it will force pulp through the strainer.
  8. Transfer juice to a clean, air-tight container before storing it in the fridge or freezer, or see canning directions below for long-term storage.
  9. The rhubarb pulp can be fed to your pigs, in moderation to your backyard chickens, or added to your compost!

Canning Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb is a high acid vegetable making it the perfect candidate for hot water bath canning, even without added lemon juice or sugar. If you've decided to can your rhubarb juice for future use, you're in luck cause it's super easy to do.

  1. Sterilize canning jars, snap lids, and rings.
  2. Meanwhile, bring rhubarb concentrate to a simmer.
  3. Ladle the simmered juice into sterilized, hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace, wipe rims of jars, top with a snap lid, and tighten screw bands finger-tight.
  4. Process in a covered hot water bath for 10 minutes (0-1000 ft), 15 minutes (1001-3000 ft), 20 minutes (3001-6000 ft).
  5. Remove the lid from the canner and turn off the burner. Allow jars to rest in the water bath for 5 additional minutes before removing them from the canner.
  6. Place on a heat-proof surface to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  7. Check seals on all jars, then wipe and label jars and place them in storage.

Any unsealed jars should be used immediately. Refrigerate rhubarb juice once opened.

Notes

Steam Juicing Safety Notes:

The juice coming out of the juicer is extremely hot and can cause burns, I would be very cautious about placing the juice jar on a stool in front of the oven when there are other people in the house. I like to open a drawer next to my oven and place the jar right in the front. Then it's secure and I worry less about one of the kids or dog bumping it off a stool.

Leftover Pulp

The cooked rhubarb pulp can be fed to your pigs, in moderation to your backyard chickens, or added to your compost! Rhubarb leaves and roots are inedible and should be discarded or added to the compost pile. Avoid feeding rhubarb leaves to your pets (including chickens and pigs) because they contain large amounts of oxalic acid which can make them unwell.

Batch:

The yield you get will be determined by the method you use to extract the juice! Steam juicing should give you between 5 and 7 cups of pure rhubarb juice while the boiling and straining method will yield a bit more, between 6 and 8 cups of juice. The boiled and strained juice will be more dilute than the steamed juice. If necessary, you can add clean distilled water to the steamed juice to make 8 cups.

Storage:

Your freshly extracted rhubarb juice can be refrigerated for up to 7 days or frozen for 6 months. As an added bonus, this juice can be canned for long-term storage - for up to 12 months.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

100

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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