Stalking the sweetly sour

Posted by Anita on 05.21.11 11:06 AM

(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*Rhubarb when raw is so tough
And its leaves contain poisonous stuff,
- But when cleaned and de-soiled
- Dipped in sugar and boiled
Then the stalks are quite tasty enough.
-The Rhubarb Compendium


This month’s CanJam challenge — hosted by Toronto Tasting Notes — offers not one but two options for us to put up: Asparagus or rhubarb. Given that I’d used the former in last month’s project (the theme was herbs, and I made tarragon asparagus pickles), my path was clear.

I know that some of my friends (including both of the people who I consider my pie gurus) will disown me when I admit this, but I’m not generally a fan of rhubarb’s texture; I just can’t tolerate the usual sliminess. I love its tart fruitiness, so I’ve learned a trick or two for keeping it firm in desserts, but canning it in a water bath — the whole point of the CanJam — would undo all of those careful preparations.

But there are a few preserves, like flavored syrups, where the pulp of the fruit (or vegetable, in this case) is strained out, leaving just the juice and its flavor behind. Best of all, syrups are simple to preserve, and they’re a compact way to save the flavors of seasonal produce for enjoyment throughout the year. You can also freeze syrups, if — unlike me — you’ve got the space to safely stash a glass bottle.

You can use this flavored syrup any place a sweet-spicy-sour touch would be welcome, something as simple as brushing it onto a cake, or diluting it with sparkling water for a homemade soda. To my mind, its perfect use is making a pink variation on the venerable summer drink known as the Paloma (or even a virgin variation, sans tequila).

(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(c)2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*

Rhubarb-Ginger Syrup
- makes 1 jar to keep, plus a little to use right away; can easily be doubled or tripled

1.5 cups white sugar
1 cup water
2 cups thick-sliced rhubarb stalks, leaves discarded
1 cup chopped ginger (no need to peel)

Prepare canner (or a saucepan deep enough to cover the jar by 3 inches), plus a small jam jar and its lid, according to the usual method; keep jar and lid hot until needed.

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve. Add the rhubarb and ginger; return to a simmer, then reduce heat and let slowly bubble until the rhubarb is thoroughly soft. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a metal strainer with cheesecloth, and place it over a heatproof bowl. (If you want crystal-clear syrup, use a muslin jelly bag and be prepared to wait for gravity to draw the liquid into the bowl; be careful not to press or squeeze the solids.)

Bring the strained syrup back to a simmer, then pour into the heated jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar. Screw band to fingertip-tight.

Place jar in canner. Bring to a boil; process covered for 5 minutes. Remove lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jar. Cool, check seal, and store in a cool, dark place.


canjam01La Paloma Rosada
1.5 to 2oz blanco tequila
1/2 oz rhubarb-ginger syrup
grapefruit bitters
tart grapefruit soda (such as Izze Grapefruit)

Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add the tequila and syrup; fill with grapefruit soda, and give a good stir. Top the ice with a few shakes of bitters.

CanJam, drinks, preserving & infusing, recipes



Comment by tea_austen

Wow, I think this is my new favorite cocktail—and I haven’t even tried it yet!

Wishing I could teleport to SF for the afternoon and have one with you guys and the doggies. It’s almost the weekend, after all :-)

Posted on 05.21.10 at 11:20AM

Comment by Elle Ross

I love the color- so girly!

Posted on 05.21.10 at 4:20PM

Comment by Helene

I wish I could have you fix me one of these tonight!
I have an issue with the texture too that’s why I barely poach it. No slime, so shreds, just pop in your mouth.
I am so getting more rhubarb at the market tomorrow to make this!

Posted on 05.21.10 at 6:52PM

Comment by Ellen

Now I wish I hadn’t made that rhubarb upside down cake. Next batch is for booze.

Posted on 05.21.10 at 7:14PM

Comment by Janna

Ooh, this looks delicious. Since it’s dumping buckets and 50 in Seattle, I’m putting this one away for another rainy day. :)

BTW, where did you get your polka dot cups? I’m a sucker for the splashy color.

Posted on 05.21.10 at 7:16PM

Comment by Anita

Thanks, all — I will have one for you this weekend (if the sun comes back out).

Janna, the glasses are from Fishs Eddy in NYC: polka-dot glasses

Posted on 05.21.10 at 8:01PM

Comment by Jessica S.

Oooh. It’s the season. I’m craving rhubarb. Where do you find it in the city that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Last time the guy at the farmer’s market wanted to charge me $6 a pound for it.

Posted on 05.22.10 at 7:06PM

Comment by Jessica

Sounds so yummy and refreshing! I’m thankful that we have some growing in our yard right now!

Posted on 05.22.10 at 9:19PM

Comment by Anita

Jessica S. — We got our rhubarb at Rainbow Grocery; we were looking at the farmers market for weeks without any luck.

Posted on 05.22.10 at 10:19PM

Comment by Livin Local

Simply stunning! Will certainly give this a go and enjoy the cocktails with friends this summer.

Posted on 05.25.10 at 6:15AM

Comment by meg

Wow! Love rhubarb, ginger, grapefruit and tequila drinks! Fantastic!

Posted on 05.26.10 at 10:36PM

Pingback by My Own CanJam “Asparubarb” Round-up | Grow & Resist

[...] Married with Dinner has just rocked my drink world with a Rhubarb-Ginger Syrup, ideally used to make a tequila drink “La Paloma Rosada” (recipe included).  Seriously fantastic sounding and I think I’m mixing this up just so the Ladyfriend and I can enjoy this with our buddies Ohbriggsy & Double S on the summer deck. [...]

Posted on 05.27.10 at 12:25AM

Comment by Garrett

Just made a double batch and canned it all up so I have some come the colder months. Kept some in a bottle to use for now though. ;)

Posted on 07.10.10 at 6:56PM

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