You may have caught on by now, that I have nothing but love for the gals at Canal House and am rendered downright giddy when a new volume of Canal House Cookery is released. So imagine how ridiculously excited I was when the latest volume came out, it was rhubarb season, and it had a recipe for one of my favs; rhubarb syrup. I was anxious to see how they made their rosy nectar, hoping to glean a nifty trick that might make mine even better. However, to my surprise, their recipe was adapted from my original source, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, which I've got to say is terrific, so I stuck with my original Hugh-inspired recipe. Make it quick, before rhubarb season is no more!
4 pounds of fresh rhubarb, cut into
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups fresh orange juice (It takes about 12 Valencia oranges to get 2 cups. You can also use a good-quality fresh orange juice that has already been squeezed if you don't have the oranges. Just stay away from reconstituted juice).
Chop up the rhubarb and juice the oranges.
Put the sugar, orange juice and rhubarb in a big pot. I use my enamel cast iron pot because it's non-reactive and it has great even heat. Bring the mix to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about half an hour until the rhubarb is very soft.
Pour mixture through a sieve into another pot. You'll need a good rubber spatula so you can push the liquid through the sieve, pressing over and over until you have what looks like this....
I know, not so attractive, but I wanted you to see what it should look like. You'll have gotten as much liquid out of the rhubarb mix and you'll end up with this....
A beautiful rosy syrup. You make want to reduce it slightly if it's not as thick as you like, but you're not looking for maple syrup thick...just a nice splash for adding to your drinks. Decant into a bottle or jars and let cool. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.
Speaking of drinks, here are a few good ones:
For a good Spring tonic add to seltzer water. If you like, add some fresh celery juice too.
Add it to lemonade for rhubarb lemonade.
And a couple cocktails from Melissa and Christopher at the Canal House:
Amante: For each drink mix together 3 ounces of rhubarb syrup and 2 ounces tequila, then pour into a sugar-rimmed glass filled with lots of ice.
Primavera: Pour 2 ounces of Rhubarb Syrup into the bottom of a champagne flute and top with Prosecco.