Celebrating the arrival of summer this holiday weekend? Toast the season with a glass of bubbly water or a fancy grown-up cocktail sweetened with this Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Cordial.
One of the constants of my culinary calendar is rhubarb syrup. I make a batch or two every spring when those rosy stalks show up at my local farmers market. Some years, I make a basic version with nothing more than rhubarb, sugar, and water. Other times, I’ve spiked my batches with ginger, rosemary, vanilla, or parsley.
This year’s version (which I’m officially calling Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Meyer Lemon Cordial) is made from diced rhubarb, honey, and thinly sliced rounds of Meyer lemon (regular lemon would also work).
One of the things I love about making rhubarb syrup is that it barely feels like work. It takes no time to chop the rhubarb, slice the lemon, and measure out the water and honey. As long as you remember to reduce the heat to medium-low after it comes to a simmer, you hardly even need to stir it.
After about 20 minutes on the stove, I turn off the heat and let it cool just long enough that there’s no chance that I’ll burn myself as I pour it through a strainer. In the past, I’ve used cheesecloth for an extra-smooth syrup, but these days I cannot be bothered with the mess that it causes. In this case, fully embrace the path of imperfection.
Once the syrup is fully strained, it goes into a bottle and into the fridge. Rhubarb is acidic enough that one could can the finished product, but I find that I prefer to make this in small enough batches to be used up within a few weeks. I add it to sparkling water, drizzle it over bowls of fruit salad, and combine it with white wine vinegar and olive oil for a quick salad dressing.
How are you preserving and transforming rhubarb these days?
- 12 ounces rhubarb (about three cups chopped)
- 12 ounces/1 cup honey
- 2 cups water
- 1 lemon (ideally a Meyer, but any lemon will work), thinly sliced
- Combine the rhubarb, honey, water, and lemon in a sauce pan. Place over high heat and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a bare simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb has fallen to bits and the lemon is quite soft.
- Let the cooked rhubarb and its liquid cool for a few minutes. Then, position a fine mesh sieve over a medium-sized mixing bowl and strain out the cordial. Work the pulp with a spoon or spatula in order to release as much liquid as possible.
- Transfer finished cordial to a jar and refrigerate. It will keep 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
- To can, funnel into prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.