Tuesday, May 14, 2013

spring in a jar: rhubarb syrup

The rhubarb has been waiting patiently for me.

Just before running out the door to catch my plane out of Comox, I remembered the rhubarb. Dad rushed out to cut me some big, happy stalks. We pushed them into a plastic bag, and carefully laid them in my carry-on next to the kale and stinging nettles.

That was the end of April.

Since then I have planned a live radio show on board a streetcar and gone to Saskatoon to celebrate my sixth wedding anniversary. It's been a busy few weeks.

But, as I mentioned, the rhubarb has been a model vegetable,* quietly waiting at the back of the fridge.

Yesterday, I chopped it up and turned it into a slightly-sweet, ruby-red syrup.

In other words: spring in a jar.

I make this syrup every spring because it's such a nice way to process rhubarb and looks so pretty. It's also incredibly easy about 20 minutes from stalky start to syrupy finish.

What to do with the syrup?

Well, it would be a darn good excuse to make panna cotta. I also like it drizzled on a dollop of thick Greek yogurt. And, in just three days, the weekend will be here and we'll try it dibbled on pancakes.

bonus photo: this is rhubarb just pushing out of the ground in February

Really, you could spoon it over anything . . . what food isn't happier with a bit of pink syrup on top?

*You may call rhubarb a fruit. That's OK, too.

one year ago: mango love on oahu
two years ago: dutch marzipan cookies
three years ago: putting asparagus on pizza and chocolate nut balls

rhubarb syrup
slightly adapted from Canadian Living

makes about 1 cup / 225 ml syrup

500 mL (2 c.) fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped
125 mL (1/2 c.) white sugar
125 mL (1/2 c.) water
1 strip lemon peel

Put all the ingredients in a pot with a heavy bottom. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down a bit so it can simmer comfortably and stir every so often. Cook until the rhubarb has broken up, but isn't a dead pulp, 8 10 minutes.

Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve suspended over a bowl. If you like your syrup a bit thicker, return the syrup to a clean pot and simmer for 8 10 minutes. It will reach the consistency of maple syrup once it's cooled. (Simmer it longer if you want it even thicker; but don't simmer it so long that it loses its fresh flavour.)

Cool and refrigerate. Keeps for at least a week. Lovely on yogurt, panna cotta, anything that needs a little injection of spring.


  1. Yum. Rubarb is one of my favourites, and this sounds like an awesome thing to do with it. I think it would be great mixed with sparkling water too!

  2. Oh, that's a great idea! Especially because the syrup is very light and not too viscous, it would be lovely mixed into a drink. Hmmm . . . champagne might be good, too!

  3. This looks delicious to me - I may just have to make it!