So it’s way too warm for crumble but there’s still plenty of rhubarb to use up! If you’ve got a load, either filling your freezer or out on your plot, this is an easy and delicious cordial, sweetly scented with rose petals, that works well with lemonade or sparkling water, drizzled onto Eton Mess-type desserts, or added to sparkling wine for a cocktail. It’s adapted from Pam Corbin’s classic ‘Rhubeena’ – recipe as follows:
granulated sugar (700g to every litre of juice strained from the fruit pulp)
25g dried rose buds or petals (mine were from Neal’s Yard)
Chop the rhubarb and put in a large pan with the water. Heat slowly to soften the rhubarb, bringing gently to a boil. Squash the rhubarb with a wooden spoon or potato masher as it softens, to help release the juice. Simmer until the fruit is fully softened, then remove from the heat. Scald a jelly bag or muslin cloth and suspend – I line a colander with mine, then sit the colander over a pan. Pour the rhubarb pulp into it and leave it to drip overnight.
Next morning, tighten the muslin around the rhubarb pulp and give it a final squeeze to get the last of the juice out. Tie 25g of dried rosebuds (mine were from Neal’s Yard) into a piece of muslin to create a spice bag.
Measure the juice and pour into a pan (in my case, back into the same one). For every litre of juice add 700g of sugar. I wish I’d made a note of exactly how much juice I’d got, but I didn’t. Sorry. (Note to self: make notes to self.) Heat the juice gently until the sugar dissolves. Dangle the spice bag into the pan to infuse the cordial with as much, or as little of the rose flavour and fragrance as you’d like. Keep the heat gentle, you don’t need to bring it to the boil.
Once you have it tasting exactly as you want it, remove the spice bag, remove the pan from the heat, and pour the cordial immediately into warm, sterilised bottles, leaving around a 1cm gap at the top. Seal with a screw top or cork. Should keep for a couple of months or so if you’ve sterilised the bottle properly and filled it while hot. This recipe made enough for me to fill 5 x 250ml bottles.