Archive for the ‘Rhubarb’ Category

Rhubarb Liqueur

Friday, August 5th, 2011

I made my first batch of rhubarb liqueur last year, and it was a roaring success…. I ran out long before I was ready for it to be gone. This year I made a larger batch, and I’m already beginning to wonder if I made enough. It goes over very well as a homemade gift.

I started the liqueur back in May and have been allowing it to age.  I got into it for the first time this week, and have to say it’s darn tasty! It can be mixed with lemon juice and sparkling water, but I’ve been enjoying on the front porch after dinner, undiluted and chilled.

I’m not going to give exact measurements, because it really depends on growing conditions of the rhubarb and personal taste. Since this is a sipping cordial, I would recommend investing in some good vodka.

Rhubarb Liqueur
80 proof vodka

Chop rhubarb and place in a large jar (I filled a gallon jug about 2/3 full).

Pour vodka over rhubarb to cover by about an inch.  Allow rhubarb to steep 3 or 4 weeks.

Strain vodka from the rhubarb pulp, and place back into clean jar.

Make a thick simple syrup using 1 part water to 1.5 parts sugar. Place sugar and water into a pan and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.  Cool syrup to room temperature.

Add simple syrup to rhubarb vodka to taste.  I really don’t know how much to recommend.  It’s going to depend on your rhubarb and the level of tartness or sweetness you prefer.  I had such a wet spring that my rhubarb was especially juicy, and the flavor wasn’t quite as intense as some years, so I used less sugar than the previous year’s batch.

Put a lid on the jar, place it in a cool dark location, and let it age at least 3 months.  Initially, it’s going to taste pretty rough.  I promise  it will become nice and smooth as it ages.

Gingered Rhubarb Conserve

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

I adore rhubarb.  But, I think my youngest son might love it even more than I do.  Each spring he starts begging me to make rhubarb crisp… almost every single day!

Most rhubarb recipes that I’ve run across over the years call for far, far too much sugar for my taste. I’ve tweaked my rhubarb conserve recipe until I ended up with a proportion of 1 part sugar to 3 parts rhubarb. It’s enough sugar to balance the high acidity of the rhubarb, but not so much that it prevents the flavor of the rhubarb from shining through. My family loves this sweet treat rolled up in Icelandic Crepes served with freshly whipped cream. I’ve even been know to place a big dollop of this rhubarb yummy-ness in bowl, throw in a small handful of hazelnuts and a splash of cream, and eat the whole mess with a spoon. It’s also divine as an ice cream topping.

Gingered Rhubarb Conserve
6 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive, heavy bottomed pan.

I use my 5 quart Update International stainless sauté pan, which is perfect for small batches of cooked jams and conserves. It’s a heavy duty commercial quality pan that I picked up at a restaurant supply store for $59.  It has a 3/4″ thick aluminum bottom, and is 12 ” in diameter and about 3″ deep. This pan makes my top 10 kitchen tools list, and is every bit as good as an equivalent sized All Clad pan that retails for around $250.

Back to our regularly scheduled rhubarb recipe.  Bring ingredients up to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the rhubarb reaches a thick jam like consistency.  Remove the vanilla bean and cool, or can.