So my young lady and I went to visit her family this weekend and, while there, we were gifted with a (1) some flower seedlings and quite a few sets of bunching onions (now planted in pots on the balcony – here’s hoping) PLUS (2) a veritable armload of rhubarb from their huge rhubarb patch.
I’m tickled a pretty specific shade of pink, as you can surely imagine.
So today, since there’s no way we’re going to eat all of it fresh (and, also, our fridge is pretty full as-is), has been a canning day! 😀
So far, I’ve made a rhubarb simple syrup (see recipe, below) with the intention of using it – mixed with white wine or soda water or even ginger ale – in lieu of lemonade as a refreshing patio drink. (I hear it works really well with a little mint thrown in – how handy that I have some growing on the balcony!)
Currently, I’ve got a strawberry-rhubarb jam on the make. It’s a mix of Purple Cow (Greely) strawberries, product-of-Ontario strawberries from the grocery store, the remains of the rhubarb from the syrup-making process, and another stalk of fresh rhubarb from my Ghost’s parents’ place.
I’ll soon be adding about 3 cups of sugar plus about a tablespoon of pectin and we’ll see how we do from there. 🙂
I’m hoping I’ll get three cups out of it, though in theory this recipe (adapted from Canadian Living) makes as many as seven. We shall see. 🙂
[EDITED TO ADD: Jam Recipe makes three 250mL jars + four 125mL jars for a total of 5 Cups of jam /EDIT]
Later today, I’ll be making something like a rhubarb cafloutis (a bit like this one here, maybe?), although it’ll probably just be vanilla custard with some flour and rhubarb thrown in before baking. We shall see. 🙂
Anyway. Rhubarb Simple Syrup. Theoretically you mix a tablespoon of the stuff with a glass (250mls? 500mls? I’m going to have to experiment) of soda water or white wine, and you end up with a nice, summery mocktale that you can use instead of lemonade if you’re all into eating local food or, like one of my aunties, if you’re alergic to citrus fruits.
Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Combine in a large sauce pan:
3-4 thick stalks of fresh rhubarb, cut into 3″ strips (about 1cm wide)
7 C water
Simmer for about 15 minutes, until you essentially have rhubarb tea.
Drain “tea” into another large pot, using a seive (reserve rhubarb pulp for jam or baking, if desired)
Boil rhubarb tea until you have about three cups of concentrated liquid
Add 3 cups of granulated sugar to the liquid and bring to a gentle boil
Boil for 10-15 minutes, until syrup feels thick when you stir it
Pour into steam-sterilized jars (or, if you have them, resealable steam-sterilized bottles) and cap
Process in another steam/boiling-water bath for 5 minutes then allow to cool on a wire rack. You should hear them go “plink” as they seal.
Makes a little over three cups, total.
I’m strongly considering trying Mrs Wheelbarrow’s rhubarb chutney and rhubarb pickles or some of the many rhubarb-centric chutneys and jams linked to by Tigress in a Jam.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 It would also go well with some lemon verbena – which, I gather, has a lemon-zest-like flavour. I think, given that, I will have to try growing lemon verbena on the balcony next summer. For now, though, I’ll work with what I’ve got. 😉
 They used to have an ice cream shop in the Glebe, but it closed years ago. IIRC, they actually served a lot of Kawartha Dairy (Peterborough area) ice cream. Mmmmmmmm… Moose Tracks and Bear Claws… 😀
 Rhubarb contains a lot of pectin just on its own, however I don’t want to take any chances. (It would be different if I were going for a jelly, and could just call it “strawberry-rhubarb syrup” or “strawberry-rhubarb glaze” if it didn’t gel properly, but this is going to have chunks of fruit in it, and needs to actually be spreadable when it’s done).