Harvest Recipe: Rhubarb Lemonade

We recently had a bounty of rhubarb and I found myself looking for a great way to use it past the usual recipes. When I stumbled across a rhubarb juice recipe, I had to try it.

That original recipe was a little bit (okay, a lot!) too sweet for my taste and even my kids found it a little too sweet to stomach. I tweaked the original recipe and came up with this version that suited my family’s taste buds perfectly.

This works well with frozen rhubarb, as well.

Rhubarb Lemon Juice Concentrate

6 cups chopped rhubarb
8 cups water
2 cups sugar
4-5 lemons (preferably organic)

1. Put water, rhubarb and sugar in a large pot.

2. Slice 3 lemons into thick slices and add to the pot. If they’re not organic, thoroughly scrub the outsides first.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very mushy.

4. Drain liquid through a colander, pushing on solids. Compost the solids.

5. Squeeze the juice of additional 1-2 lemons into the juice, stirring well. Adjust to taste. This will be diluted 1:2 with water for serving, so keep that in mind.

6. Bottle the liquid in wine bottles or jars (it’s lovely in recycled wine bottles!), leaving a little head space on top. Use within a week or freeze for later use in safe containers.

To serve:

Mix one part rhubarb lemon juice with 2 parts water or seltzer. Alternately, don’t add additional lemon juice in step 5 and serve with fresh squeezed lemon or lime.

Note: If your rhubarb is mostly red, you’ll end up with a gorgeous pink juice. Greener stalks will yield a more golden juice. It tastes just as good, but save your red stalks for this recipe if you’d like that special color!

Can you still harvest rhubarb into the summer?

Many gardeners believe that rhubarb must be harvested only in late spring and early summer. Actually, rhubarb is ripe and can be harvested from late spring through fall (as long as the plant is vigorous enough to spare some stalks, starting in about the second year). Just be sure the stalks are about 10″ long before you start to harvest. That said, the plant expends some of its energy preparing for dormancy starting in early July. After that, harvest sparingly so as not to stress the plant.

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Post Author: Alicia Bayer

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