It might be getting a little too late for rhubarb, but I’m hoping, if you’re anything like me, that you’ve purchased or plucked extra rosy-green stalks and chopped and frozen or boiled down and canned a few to enjoy in the all-too-many months that rhubarb isn’t in season.
So, with that in mind, here’s one last rhubarb recipe from me this year. It’s one of the things my mom is most famous for, along with chocolate zucchini cake and world-class soil science research. No biggie, right?
It’s safe to say that the guests of most of the “do’s” to which my mom is invited probably hope that, when she arrives, she pulls an old ice cream bucket from a plastic bag, labelled with masking tape: Rhubarb Punch. Sweet enough to have you wanting to ladle out more than a few cup-brimming servings but with a citrusy tartness that is a hell of a lot more sophisticated than your average bowl of ice, juice, pop and maraschino cherries, you’d best make a double batch.
- 6 cups rhubarb, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 32 oz. ginger ale to serve
- Combine the rhubarb, water and one cup of the sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium to high heat. Cook until the rhubarb has mostly disintegrated, and the juice is a rich pink to pinky-brown colour.
- Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth, and set the colander over a second large pot. Pour the rhubarb into the colander, collecting the juice in the pot and straining out the fibrous rhubarb stalks. To get the most juice out of the mixture, pull up the edges of the cheesecloth and twist them together, squeezing out the last of the liquid.
- Take the pot of rhubarb drippings and heat again over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and then remove from the stovetop. Add in the orange juice, remaining half cup of sugar, lemon juice and salt.
- Store by pouring into large, sealable containers and freezing, or serve immediately. To serve, pour the rhubarb concentrate into a punch bowl and add 32 oz. of ginger ale.