About 3 weeks ago, I managed to sprain my ankle and have been almost entirely housebound since. Very annoying as I had the days before Easter off in order to do some serious gardening. One thing I did do yesterday was to very carefully make my way up the garden to the rhubarb patch to harvest them, as they have gone rather large once more and I think in fact we have a record on the thickness of the stems this year. I pulled out the thickest ones, and left the really thin ones to hopefully grow fatter in the coming weeks.
But what to do with them? There are still bags of last year's harvest in the freezer. Then I remembered that my good friend Dr Cutie makes rhubarb cordial, which is extremely popular in her family. So a quick search on the internet gave a few relatively easy recipes and I opted for the one that had the highest reader rating. The original is here (in Swedish). Otherwise they all followed the same principle, the difference was in the quantities of each ingredient.
1 kg rhubarb stalks, trimmed and washed
3 dl water
4 dl granulated sugar per litre of juice
- Slice the rhubarbs into ½ cm wide chunks.
- Place in a large saucepan and add the water.
- Put the lid on, bring to the boil, then turn down and let simmer until the rhubarb pieces disintegrate. Stir occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly.
- Place two layers of cheese cloth over a colander, then place the colander over a large bowl, so that it is well away from the bottom.
- Carefully transfer the cooked rhubarb into the cheese cloth and leave to filter through for an hour or so. At the end, twist the cheese cloth around the rhubarb to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Pre-heat the oven to its highest setting (mine goes to 200 °C on fan). Measure up the amount of juice and calculate how much sugar you will need. Prepare clean glass bottles for the juice, then place in the oven to heat up and sterilise for 20 minutes at least.
- Place the juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then stir in the sugar and bring to the boil again and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, this shouldn't take too long. Switch off the heat and skim off the foam on the surface.
- Transfer the cordial to a jug and carefully pour into the hot bottles. Leave to cool, then close and keep in the fridge.
- The cordial can be frozen as well.
From the comments under the recipe, dilute 1/6 or 1/7. I had 1.1 kg of rhubarb this time, so I increased the amount of water for boiling to correspond. After draining the stalks, I ended up with 9 dl of juice, so the amount of sugar I used was 3.6 dl, again in proportion to the given amounts. This filled up 2 half-litre bottles.
I also didn't have the heart to throw away the remaining stalks, but scraped off as much as I could from the cheese cloths and put in a plastic bag in the freezer, this came to 360 g and will be used as cake filling.