How was everyone’s weekend? Ours was nice and relaxing, and we were able to get a lot done around the house. I made over the ugly brown file cabinet that I purchased at a garage sale a few weeks ago with a few coats of fresh white paint. I think it looks great in our office, and I’m actually kind of excited to start organizing paperwork in it. Alejandro was able to get some more work done on our pallet compost bins, which are nearly finished.
We were also watching a friend’s dog for the weekend, and more than ever it made us want dogs of our own. It was so much fun having him around, and we could really picture dogs in our new home. From playing fetch in our backyard, to cuddling on the couch, to bringing him on a trip to Home Depot, he reminded us how much a dog adds to life.
This weekend I also finished up the last of one of my new favorite summer drinks, sunshine rhubarb juice. The concentrate is simple to prepare, but does take a lot of rhubarb, so it is really only practical if you have an abundance on your hands. Alejandro’s parents have a giant rhubarb plant that they don’t use, so I helped myself to a couple large bunches earlier this year. The concentrate comes out a delightful pink color, and it really displays the unique taste of rhubarb. I found it to be delicious mixed into water or lemonade. I can also imagine it would produce a pretty tasty alcoholic beverage, though I finished it off too quickly this year to experiment. Oh well. There is always next year.
12 cups sliced rhubarb
4 cups water
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1½ cups granulated sugar
1. Combine rhubarb, water, and zest in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
2. Transfer mixture to a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for at least 2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.
4. Squeeze as much rhubarb juice as possible from the cheesecloth and discard the solids. In a large, stainless steel saucepan, combine rhubarb juice and sugar. Heat to 190º C over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
5. Ladle hot concentrate into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, center lids on top, and screw on bands, just to fingertip-tight.
6. Place jars in canner and process in boiling water for 10 minutes, increasing time as necessary if you live at higher altitudes. Remove jars from water and place on a towel. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing.
7. To serve, start by mixing one part concentrate with one part water, lemonade, etc. Adjust to taste. Based on personal preference, I often add more water.
Yield: about 4 pint jars
(Recipe slightly adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)