I make quite a big batch of rhubarb syrup then split it up and add various other flavours like rosewater, orange blossom, coconut or lavender. You can have a batch ready in about an hour and use it in anything from cocktails to sorbets, cakes or just as a refreshing long drink with sparkling water and ice. Rhubarb varies in flavour depending on the variety and time of year, the one that I grow is really tart so I use quite a bit of sugar. This recipe makes about 2 litres of syrup so you could just half the quantities for a smaller batch. I get through it at quite a rate and it will keep for at least a couple of weeks in your fridge. You can add a teaspoon of citric acid to preserve it for up to a month if you wish.
- 2kg chopped rhubarb
- 300ml water
- 600g sugar
- peeled zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 4 tsp vanilla extract (or substitute some sugar for vanilla sugar)
- Put your chopped rhubarb, water and sugar and lemon zest into a big pot on a medium heat until the rhubarb breaks down completely. Taste and add more sugar if it is too tart then add your vanilla extract.
- Now you need to strain the mixture. A jelly bag and bowl is ideal. I don't have one so I line a colander with a big square of muslin (or clean pillowcase) and set it over a big bowl. I then pour the mix in, tie up the corners of the bag and hang it from a hook above the bowl so the syrup drains through leaving the rhubarb pulp behind. Try to let it drain without squeezing it, that way you get a nice clear syrup. You can use the leftover pulp in cakes, ice creams and pies but I just tend to eat it straight away with a drizzle of cream as a special treat for being so ace and making my own syrup!
- Once you have your beautiful syrup you can either pour it straight away into sterilised bottles or add a few teaspoons of rosewater or orange blossom water for a really floral syrup.