I'm beating the heat today by staying inside with the curtains closed against the sun and making rhubarb cordial so I can have delicious drinks later this afternoon. While thinking about writing this post I searched 'cordial' on the internet and was quite surprised to find that what I call cordial (as an Australian) isn't what other parts of the world call it! So to clarify, this rhubarb cordial is a non-alcoholic fruit based drink mixer - it is best mixed with still water, soda water or tonic water. My personal preference is cold soda water (and maybe a splash of Bacardi or vodka!).
We have three rhubarb plants but I must admit that while I don't mind rhubarb, I'm not a huge fan. My favourite way to eat it is in a rhubarb and apple crumble, which is best eaten in winter - when the rhubarb is dormant! So last summer we started making rhubarb cordial. It is fruity and a little bit tart, so it is quite a refreshing way to use our crop. This recipe is one I created by mixing up a few recipes I read on the internet and in magazines.
I'm not sure what variety of rhubarb we have, but it is quite green.
400g rhubarb stems, chopped into about 3-4cm pieces
300g caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 litre water
1 tablespoon citric acid
(Double the recipe if you have lots of rhubarb)
Place the chopped rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, lemon halves and water into a saucepan. Stir to combine.
Place saucepan on medium heat, without lid. Stir occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves. When mix comes to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to stir occasionally. Simmer until the rhubarb is mushy.
Remove from heat and leave to cool for a couple of hours.
Push the mix through a strainer to separate the stewed rhubarb from the liquid.
Put stewed rhubarb into a clean container, remove lemon halves and place into fridge, eat within 3 days.
Whisk citric acid into the cordial. Pour into sterilized jars or bottles. Place cordial into fridge and drink within 2-3 weeks. Makes about 1 litre of cordial.
This is not as concentrated as shop bought cordials, so you dilute it 1 part cordial to about 3-4 parts water. It is also quite cloudy from the sediment of the stewed rhubarb. I have tried a recipe where you didn't cook the rhubarb, just let it sit for 24 hours. That recipe gave a clear cordial, but I didn't think it was as tasty.
You can eat the leftover stewed rhubarb, it is quite nice with a dollop of thick cream! Just remember a lot of the rhubarb flavour is now in the cordial, so it is a muted rhubarb taste.
Everything in the saucepan, ready to cook.
Freshly bottled rhubarb cordial ready to go into the fridge.