Since we’ve been experiencing mostly liquid sunshine around these parts this June, the local produce seems to be growing a little slower. This time of year we are usually getting excited for strawberries and carrots, and with all this damp we are hoping that it will still be a good season. We do, however, have a selection of locally grown greens, as well as rhubarb grown in Ferndale by Bob Smalls, which I thought would be fun to feature in my recipe demo this week.
When I think about cooking with rhubarb, it is usually in conjunction with strawberries, but that wasn’t quite interesting enough for me. I found an intriguing recipe in the Popular Gardening Series Organic Farm and Garden “magabook” for rhubarb ginger cordials, and I had to try it out.
Cordials (also known as “squash”) are concentrates that are mixed with water, wine, sparkling water, iced tea, spirits, etc. to create a refreshing drink. Traditional cordials generally contain ginger, but I had never heard of one made with rhubarb. Pre-made cordials tend to have artificial flavorings and colors in them (they are also generally hard to find in the US) and I had heard they were easy to make so I figured it was worth a go.
Easy it was – all you have to do is roughly chop the rhubarb and ginger (peel the ginger first) and then throw it in a pot with a bunch of water and some sweetener. I used agave syrup, but you could also use honey or pure coconut syrup. I let the ingredients boil for about a half hour until the liquid was reduced by half. After that it’s just a matter of letting the mixture drain into a bowl and then cooling it down (although I tried some when it was warm and it was delicious as well).
I served it mixed with Voss Sparkling water and a little crushed ice and it was light and refreshing – gingery with a little rhubarb tartness to finish the flavor off. As a mixer, I think this cordial would be delicious with a little vodka and sparking water and it would be a delicious addition to iced tea.
Rhubarb Ginger Cordial
Makes 2 cups
- 2 c coarsely chopped rhubarb
- 1/4 c fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 4 c filtered water
- 1/4 c honey or agave syrup
- Sparking water
- Club soda
- Iced or hot tea
- Spirits (for a cocktail)
- In a medium pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and boil gently for 20 minutes or until the rhubarb becomes very soft and the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Line a sieve with dampened fine cheesecloth or a jelly bag and set it over a bowl.
- Add the rhubarb mixture and let it drip (at room temperature) for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours. Gently press on the pulp to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the pulp in the cheesecloth.
- Transfer the cordial to a jar or an airtight container. Refrigerate until chilled or for up to one week.
- To serve—use 2 T—1/4 c per serving mixed with sparkling water, wine, iced tea, or mix it into a cocktail.