It is monstrously huge.
|This is our full-grown Labrador Retriever, Pippa, guarding the giant rhubarb.|
It has produced copious, extra large, non-woody stalks for years. It produces well all spring and summer, as long as I keep removing the taller-than-I-am seed stalks (though it is a shame because they are so showy and kind of outer-spacey looking). This year has been very wet and cool, so the rhubarb is not even at its usual prime. Some years the stalks are as thick as my wrist.
Here they are in comparison with my normal sized, regular rhubarb plant stalks.
I have been making juice lately, and cake, and stewed rhubarb, and roasted rhubarb.
A particular favourite has been my rhubarb-ade with lavender blossoms and rosewater. Mmmmm - a lovely sparkly cocktail (with maybe a touch of vodka), or a refreshing summer juice, or a light and slightly floral thirst-quencher when I add a splash of it to flavour my drinking water.
|Regular rhubarb on left|
Rose and Lavender Rhubarb Cordial
2.5 lbs (1.15 kg) rhubarb, cut in 3 to 4 inch pieces (about 10 cups if cut in 1/2 inch pieces)
4 cups (1 litre) water
1 Tbsp (15 ml) edible, dried lavender flowers
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) rosewater
3/4 cup (175 ml) honey or agave nectar, or 1 1/2 cups (350ml) sugar
Combine rhubarb, water and lavender flowers in a large pot.
Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean and rinsed tea-towel and set it over a bowl. Pour the rhubarb mixture into it and let strain until no more juice drips out ( 1/2 hour or longer). Or you can strain the mixture in a jelly bag hung over a bowl.
Let cool and funnel into a pretty container. An empty wine bottle works well.
This recipe makes 2 wine bottles of cordial - or about 6 cups (1.5 litres)
(One bottle to keep and one to give away.)
To dilute the cordial for serving, play around with the taste ratios you prefer. I like to mix about equal amounts of cordial with sparkling water over ice to make a drink cocktail, or 1 part cordial to two or three parts chilled tap water to make a summer rhubarb-ade (either in a pitcher or glass), or a small splash into a tall glass of ice-water for a light flavoured-water refresher.
Bay and Star Anise Rhubarb Cordial
|(Bay and anise shown for a double batch)|
Rhubarb is a spring and summer staple in our house - good for many uses, maybe even a game of hide-and-seek.