It is that time of year...rhubarb time! I try to make a bit of everything with it so that it can last us through the year. Frozen, jam, compote, chutney, syrup...combined with some of the decadent freshness that is the seasonal treat like rhubarb ice cream or granita or baked honey glazed rhubarb. The house has the constant rhubarb and honey smell this time of year and it is a good thing.
We have a lot of cold and now wet this week (frost tomorrow night?) so it is perfect for home and kitchen puttering. Yesterday I made one of my favorite things. Rhubarb syrup - this year with ginger and cardamom. SO GOOD.
::Rhubarb Ginger Syrup::
8 C chopped rhubarb
1.5 cups honey
sliced fresh ginger (2" knob)
2 cardamom pods, cracked - seeds only into pan (optional, but it is good!)
1/2 vanilla pod scraped (or 1 tsp good vanilla extract)
2 cups water
(If you want it to look pink, add a slice of fresh beet)
Combine everything in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 30-40 minutes.
Run the mixture through a fine strainer (or cheesecloth) that has been placed over a large bowl. Strain until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Give a little press on the solids with a spoon to extract more syrup.
Pour the syrup into a clean bottle, cap or cork the bottle and refrigerate. It will store for quite a long time in the fridge.
The solids make a nice rough jam or are fantastic added to baked goodies (just remove ginger slices), so if you want you can put what is left in the strainer in a clean jar and keep them in your refrigerator and use as needed! I'm making muffins this morning with it.
What to do with it? I love using it to make rhubarb soda. Or, add a little to lemonade (my boys love this) or iced tea. Drizzle over vanilla ice cream. Or perhaps ... vodka and a sprig of basil!
Of course the first thing we did with the syrup was make rhubarb soda. We don't drink store bought carbonated beverages/sodas, but having a rhubarb ginger soda is a real treat - and sweetened with only honey!
Rhubarb Syrup (for a pint canning jar glass I fill to about 1/4)
Sprig of Fresh Basil (optional, but so good!)
Put the syrup in over the ice and then gently pour the club soda over. Lightly crush the basil and stir in. It is so so so so so so good!
More rain and cold this week, and more rhubarb in my kitchen! Today we are freezing some so that we have it when the strawberries are ripe. Yum.