June 2011

Very wet weather here in Ontario this week. Certainly not tempting my desire for an ice cold beverage that's for sure. If you are experiencing better summertime temperatures than we are, you may have the urge to try this cocktail.

Rhubarb and Vodka Cocktail

2 cups diced rhubarb (small)
1 vanilla pod scraped
cinnamon stick
2 tblsp. sugar or honey if preferred
2 ounces water or orange juice

Cook all over medium heat (covered) until the rhubarb softens; lower the heat and keep reducing if you like.

Cool and store in a sealed jar and refrigerate for a week. Add a little of this to a shaker with ice and vodka with a splash of limejuice.

I actually made my own variation of this drink last weekend. I didn't use vodka though as the alcohol ingredient and it was quite tasty.

I hope to have that recipe and pictures up on the site very soon. (Do you like gin?)

The Price of Rhubarb

Did some shopping recently and saw approximately 6 stalks of medium sized rhubarb standing up on a shelf in the vegetable aisle. They were marked $7.00 but I don't believe the seven dollars was for all of the stalks.

I'm not sure what is paid in stores in my area, as I don't buy it. Seemed alot to me, but maybe not? I'd be curious to know what people pay for what so many of us take for granted, as it's quite common here.

Washington Dairy Princess brings Rhubarb to the Republic of Moldova

Rhubarb is unheard of in this country, which is located between Romania and the Ukraine. The main veggies grown there are tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers and watermelons. They could have the ability to grow rhubarb, but just don't bother.

Through the Peace Corps, a young lady by the name of Emily Getty will share her knowledge of algriculture with these farmers.

She says she is taking with her strawberry-rhubarb pies for them to taste. I can't think of a much better choice than this to tempt their tastebuds, can you? I'm sure they will tackle growing rhubarb quickly.

Please Don't Eat Rhubarb Leaves As Food

I was browsing a garden forum recently, and I feel this deserves the mention. Some of the responders in this forum wondered if the question posed was "a joke", but regardless, responders took the question asked quite seriously.

A reader wrote into the forum and stated that "he had used the "stems" of the rhubarb, and was pondering using the leaves as "wraps" instead of in a soup...?"

Well, I was horrified, and you can imagine what the responses of the readers were, and they immediately pointed out that the rhubarb leaves are poisonous. They also went on to cite various experiences and knowledge as they knew it based on what they had heard and seen firsthand.

"Poison Control has info because of children. Numerous incidents of children recovering from being poisoned are reported because children are curious and have chewed the leaves."

"A small amount can damage kidneys".

*Note* A reader sent me something to read on this very subject June 25th, but there was nothing on the page and the email address this submission came from is not working. If "Donna" is reading this by any chance, please contact me again at info@savor-the-rhubarb.com I'm very interested in your message.

"Some people refuse to even compost the leaves. They burn them separately."

"Another chemical in addition to oxalic acid in the leaf is used as a pesticide."

"A cousin accidentally killed a rabbit by feeding it rhubarb leaves."

"3 of 5 young pigs on a farm ate rhubarb leaves and died suffering first convulsions and then the inability to breath."

The consensus of course was "DON'T EAT IT" and even if unsure, nobody was about to try and find out what the consequences would be if they did.

The person with the question eventually appeared again in the forum and said "I didn't know they were poisonous, but the leaves sure look good."

There are still an incredible amount of people in the world who refuse to try rhubarb, and for those that do want to for the first time, how would they know this about the leaves? The leaves of so many vegetables we do eat are harmless and/or good for you. Anyway, it goes to show, some people just aren't aware!

Testing for Sweetness in Rhubarb

Do you know they tested for sweetness at the Manchester Rhubarb Festival this year? Know how it's done? A refractometer is used. This gives what is called "Brix Measurement" which measures the percentage of sugar content.

To give you some idea - An apple would measure around 11.5 percent; a banana would measure 22 percent. Limes and lemons measure around 4.5 percent. Wonder how the different varieties of rhubarb measure up?

If you don't like a sweet drink, apparently this one is just right for the tartness of rhubarb.

This recipe is called a Rhubarb Pie Cocktail, and it comes from Boulder Locavore Blogspot . The article itself is written more with a focus on the type of organic grain vodka used. This is a very interesting read if you should decide to give this site a visit. The picture of the drink there is lovely. All rhubarb drinks to me look so inviting...the color reminds me of a pink grapefruit juice.

Rhubarb Pie Cocktail

5 stalks rhubarb chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Combine rhubarb and water in a saucepan on medium heat until it cooks down and purees itself.

Add in the sugar a bit at a time, and adjust to your taste if you need more.

Using a strainer over a bowl, pour the mixture through and push with a spatula to get as much juice out as possible. Puree with a processor if you have to, otherwise allow strained juice to cool. Discard the pulp.

Mix 1 ounce of the rhubarb puree with 2 ounces "Vodka 14" (a single drink) in a shaker and add ice. Shake well, pour over a glass full of ice.

You can garnish your cocktail with mint leaves or a cinnamon stick to jazz it up.

There is nothing stated about preserving the puree, but I am adding in that it can be kept in the fridge in a jar tightly covered.

If you are a rye drinker, here's a quick "one drink" recipe you may enjoy as well.

Fill a shaker with ice.

Add: 1 oz rye whiskey, and 4 oz of ginger ale.

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Add a tablespoon of strawberry-rhubarb compote. Garnish with a slice of strawberry.

We welcome any special tips/advice/stories/ about your rhubarb you might care to share! Please feel to do so at Rhubarb Expertise .

I want to say a big "thank you" to those who have contributed from their sources of knowledge, (and correct me sometimes); to those of you who comment separately, and to all of you who simply visit for whatever info you are searching for from time to time. I sincerely appreciate your interest and participation on any level. You inspire me to provide more.

Until next time,




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