Friday, May 22, 2009

More rhubarb

I think the rhubarb we have is called "Victoria." I don't know for sure as I got my start from my mom's rhubarb patch which has been there forever or close enough to forever that I can't remember her not having the patch. And she doesn't remember the name of the variety either. So we're calling it Victoria until we learn differently.

But yesterday I stuck in two starts of "Canada Red" which should be a much redder variety. When I cook our rhubarb it usually turns sort of a chartreuse color tho when I make juice from it and drain away the solids, the juice is a pretty dark pink. Go figure.

Anyway, I was looking to increase our rhubarb production and decided if I was going to add a couple more plants I should consider a different variety. And the color was enough to sell me on Canada Red or Canadian Red (depending on who you ask for the name).

Now what are we going to do with more rhubarb? Well, pretty much the same thing we've been doing with it over the years. Make stewed rhubarb, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb-berry preserves, rhubarb fruit leather and rhubarb beverages. (See previous post "What do you do with rhubarb?" for ideas and recipes.) There's a rhubarb liqueur made with vodka that I like to have on hand and, a favorite with DS, rhubarb ade or rhubarb punch. I can even can the punch and have it ready to go straight from the jar.

This year I'm trying something a little different. When I cooked the rhubarb to make juice, instead of just separating the cooked fruit and the liquid (and tossing the strained fruit), DH ran the fruit through the ricer like we do with apples or tomatoes. Then I poured the juice into 2-quart jars and let them sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning I strained the juice to remove the sediment. I tried using a coffee filter but it was taking forever so I switched to a mesh strainer.

After straining over 10 quarts of juice, I ended up with almost 1 quart of pulp and 9+ quarts of juice.I used the pulp to make a rhubarb-strawberry fruit leather. I heated the rhubarb in a pan on low, added about a cup of honey, and stirred in maybe a quart of well-mashed strawberries. I stirred it over low heat and as soon as it appeared to be well-blended and the honey had dissolved, I put the fruit mixture in the dehydrator to dry. The rhubarb juice I used to make punch which I canned in the water bath canner. So now I can make punch and leather with one batch of rhubarb instead of doing almost the same steps twice to make two separate recipes.

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