My rhubarb plants are starting to push through the gradually warming soil here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. It seems that our springs are arriving earlier and earlier. I already have some Asian greens, lettuce, and snap peas in the ground. The greens are starting to germinate after just a week in the ground. Pretty amazing for February 17th. Of course, we may get a freeze anytime between now and April 20th, so I will be putting some row covers over the wee sprouties to assure they survive.
I imagine that if you are lower in latitude your rhubarb may be ready to pick. In that case, check out these earlier blog posts for tips on steam juicing rhubarb in your Mehu-Liisa steam juicer:
And if you end up with some fresh steamed juice, or you have some on the storage shelves from last year, try this recipe for Rhubarb Shrub. A shrub is an old-timey way of preserving fruit juices from days gone by. Rhubarb is wonderfully suited to shrubbery because it has a distinct flavor that stands up to additions and complements when mixing. Try some rhubarb shrub in seltzer water for a wonderful pick-me-up drink. Very refreshing.
Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of rhubarb juice. Bring gently to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Cool the syrup to room temperature. Add 1 cup of vinegar (any kind that has no preservatives in it–I prefer cider vinegar) to the syrup and bottle. Put in the refrigerator for at least a week to let flavors meld. Mix at a 1:4 ratio, syrup to water or seltzer, for a snappy sip. Shrubs are awesome as ingredients in mixed drinks as well.
Keep an eye out for a later season post on summery cocktails made with juice from the Mehu-Liisa steam juicer.