Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Amazing Color of Rhubarb and a Sweet Succulent

Clearly I need to plant some rhubarb because this year I had to BUY some at the store! And then when I returned a couple days later for more, it was all gone. Now, I fear, I will have to wait an entire year to taste their unique flavor and SEE their unique color again. If you have a healthy rhubarb plant or two of your own, you likely take it for granted. They tend to get large and produce more stalks than you know what to do with. I am one who has taken them for granted in the past but not so this year. Although I don't have my own plant, my parents have a huge one and the neighbors have several and the rental I manage has a monster, so there has always been rhubarb in rhubarb season. This year the only rhubarb to pass through my kitchen were the 6 or 7 stalks I picked up at the co-op and hiked home with, their red and green canes protruding from my cloth bag.

When I got home I chopped them up and and cooked them down with ginger, sugar, red wine, and lime. This mixture was then strained, creating two products: a rhubarb butter and a rhubarb syrup.

These jars of ruby sweet-tartness didn't last long. The syrup was drizzled over homemade ice cream and used to ginger up sparkling water and prosecco. The butter/jam was eaten directly from the jar and used in a solar fruit bar thingy.
In case you'd like to try it:

Ginger-Lime Rhubarb Syrup and Quick Jam

4 or 5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup cab sauv or other red
1 t. finely chopped fresh ginger
juice of half a lime

Place rhubarb, sugar, water, ginger and wine in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until rhubarb is very soft. This doesn't take very long but I didn't time it. I'm guessing 20 minutes of simmering. Turn off heat. Stir in the lime juice and let the mixture cool to at least warm. Pour liquid through a strainer into a jar. Press solids to extract most but not all of the juice. Put solids in a second jar. Done!

Now for this cute succulent that Leo picked out a couple years ago at the St. Helena farmers market. Each year around this time it blooms, sending out its single long tendril adorned with tiny iridescent white-pink flowers. So sweet.

Hmmm......I think I need to wash the windows

June is in full swing! 


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