Rhubarb is a relatively new discovery in my food arsenal. It is so seasonal that it makes a flash appearance in early spring and by the time it ends up on my radar it is gone. Every year.
So, I finally learned. I saw some and immediately put some in my basket in a I-refuse-to-be-late-to-the-game kinda way. Without really knowing what I intended to do with it.
I’ve come across a million recipes for rhubarb pies, tarts, breads, compotes and syrups. All sweet and all most likely beyond my limited baking abilities.
I decided to go the Rhubarb Cocktail / Soda route. Ever since I discovered that a lovely concoction called ‘Shrub’ existed, I’ve been a little obsessed. It is basically an old fashioned way of preserving fruit in vinegar with a sugar. I am always a fan of sweet/tart – dating back to my sour patch kid loving days. And a shrub is the crown jewel of the sweet/tart kingdom.
Who doesn’t want to put a stopper on time and flavor to bottle up something like rhubarb that is seasonal in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda way. Last fall I played around with a persimmon shrub (again, ultra seasonal) and so it was a natural progression when I got my rhubarb home and stared at it trying to decide what exactly to make.
As the rhubarb soaks in the vinegar it will get pale and wan while the surrounding liquid will turn a brilliant pink. It gave me a little thrill every time I took it out to admire and shake. You can literally SEE the rhubarb giving up its essence. Am I the only one that geeks out over such things?
This is one of those patience recipes – it takes a bit of time and planning and then you have and hold it. Tucked away in the fridge just waiting to be made into a cocktail with a splash of floral gin or into an Italian soda with a pour of cream. I imagine it would be just as lovely spooned over ice cream with a couple of sliced berries. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month, extending life and flavor beyond rhubarb season.
If you are interested in shrubs here are a couple of other recipes that might make your heart beat a little faster:
- Apricot Shrub from The Vintage Mixer
- Blood Orange & Ginger Shrub from The Hungry Hounds
- Persimmon Shrub by yours truly
And if rhubarb makes your heart beat a little faster (and you are a better baker than I am) here are some sweet additions for your arsenal:
- Rhubarb Panna Cotta Tart by Hummingbird High
- Rhubarb Meringue Cups by Blogging Over Thyme
- Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal by Pastry Affair
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