rhubarb simple syrupIt’s rhubarb season! Growing up on the east coast of Canada, it’s one of the first desserts we would eat to welcome Spring. My mom had a huge rhubarb patch.  It was so big (how big was it?) my siblings and I used it as a base to play hide and seek.  We loved its big leafy canopy and mom warned us never to eat the leaves as they were poisonous. The stalks, however, weren’t. I can recall eating it raw, and shivering because of the sourness.  How could something so darn sour be so good when cooked?  But it was!

Rhubarb syrup is a lovely way to enjoy fresh rhubarb in the Spring. Use as the base for your favorite cocktail or mix with soda water for a refreshing mocktail.  Similarily, pour the rhubarb syrup over vanilla ice cream or lemon cake.

Rhubarb stew tends to be one of the popular ways to prepare it especially if you’re a novice cook. Throw it in a pie with strawberries and you have a delicious summer dessert.  Another way to enjoy this vegetable is to bake the rhubarb; the stalks tend to hold their shape. This recipe can be enjoyed as is or use in a sorbet.  For more interesting recipes, click here.

2 lbs. washed rhubarb, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar

method

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook gently. Stir occasionally until rhubarb is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly (20 minutes).

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.  Pour the syrup into a clean bottle. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.  Oh, and don’t discard the pulp.  It makes for a yummy rhubarb spread on toast.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Strain a second time using a fine-mesh strainer. This will keep the syrup from becoming cloudy. Enjoy!