I never would have imagined that I would grow to love rhubarb but the appearance of bunches of this bright reddish pink stalk at the market every spring have gradually won me over. I started experimenting with this astringent vegetable a few warm summers ago and I don’t think I am finished understanding its qualities yet. At the moment refreshing drinks with rhubarb are my solution to the summer heat.
Both of the recipes written below involve clean clear water with the simple addition of fresh mint on the one hand and rose petals on the other. It has taken me a while to decide which one is my favorite and then I realized there is no need to choose. . .
Ingredients for rhubarb infused water
- three rhubarb stalks
- one small lemon or lime
- three stalks of fresh mint
- one liter of water
The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it involves filling a nice pitcher with freshly washed and cut rhubarb, squeezing the juice of the lemon into the water and putting the contents into the refrigerator for a while. I let the water soak up the flavors for two days just because I wanted to see how pink and flavorful it would become. However, the raw ingredients floating between some ice cubes in a pitcher are equally refreshing within a few hours and make for a big effect on the picnic table. Don’t forget to add the fresh mint by the way. Oh. . . .and save the squeezed lemon halves for a carafe of homemade lemonade
Ingredients for rhubarb and rose petal lemonade
- one liter of rhubarb-infused water including the rhubarb stalks
- 100 ml raw honey
- a small handful of rose petals from the garden or
- one tablespoon of dried rose petals
- one orange (optional
Fill a pan with the infused water as well as the raw rhubarb stalks and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Turn the heat down a bit and simmer the contents of the pan for five minutes before removing the stalks with a sieve (saving them for a breakfast yoghurt or even a nice dessert). Add the honey and stir. Continue to simmer the pink rhubarb water at low heat another ten minutes before turning off the heat.
Add the rose petals to the lemonade and stir. Allow it to cool before tasting it, adding a bit of lemon, some honey and perhaps some fresh orange slices before serving it in your favorite drinking glasses. The rose petals can either float in the lemonade or you can remove them as well. The longer the ingredients infuse the stronger the flavor.
Drink both kinds of rhubarb water with anything your heart desires this summer. Add mineral water and edible flowers from the garden. And even add some Proscecco for a cocktail if you like.
The rhubarb and rose petal lemonade described above makes for a great syrup. Just simmer the contents of the infused water once you have removed the rhubarb to a bit more than half the original volume. Add a spoon of extra honey and cool the ingredients well before saving it in the refrigerator in a jar with a lid on it for up to one month. I like to use this dark red syrup to flavor yoghurt but it works great on pancakes as well.