yes, i’m still workin’ on preserving all that rhubarb…
the very cool thing is that ‘beenas can be made all summer with each new fruit as it bursts into season. that means by the end of the summer you can have a tidy little ‘beena selection tucked away in your larder. and throughout the year, whenever the spirit moves you, you can enjoy the tastes of summer! simply dilute to taste with spring or sparkling water.
…that’s assuming of course that you have any left after all of the insane-in-the-membrane cocktail parties you’ll be throwing all summer once you are moved to put a little spirit in the mix. simply dilute spirits to taste with rhubeena.
know what i’m sayin?
adapted from the river cottage preserves handbook
4 1/2 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
3-4 cups sugar (approximately)
jelly bag and strainer, or tight-weaved cheesecloth or butter muslin & strainer
canning bottles or jarsyield: approximately 1 & 1/2 quarts
1. add chopped rhubarb & 1/2 pint water to a non-reactive pan. heat on medium, partially covered, and bring to a simmer. let simmer until all the rhubarb has softened – about 45 minutes.
2. while rhubarb is cooking place jelly bag or cheescloth in a small pan of water and bring to the boil, let boil for 10 minutes to sterilize.
3. once sterilized squeeze excess water from jelly bag and place on stand over a large bowl. if using cheese cloth place over a strainer propped over a bowl. place cooked rhubarb in cloth and let drip overnight.
4. next morning prepare your jars & canner. while jars are heating, measure the rhubarb liquid. for every quart of juice add a scant 3 cups of sugar.
5. warm the juice & sugar mixture on low heat until the sugar has melted, turn the heat to medium-high and bring the the boil. boil for one minute.
6. fill jars and hot water bath process for 10 minutes.*
to skip the hot water bath preserving, rhubeena can be placed directly in fridge upon cooling. however for longer shelf life in the fridge, i recommend sterilizing the jars by boiling them for 10 minutes before filling.
*when hot water bath preserving rhubeena the headspace should be 1/2 inch. as you can see in my photo above, my headspace is more like an inch. don’t be fooled by the little bubbles that are on top when you place the hot liquid into jars, as apparently i was.
they appear to have sealed just fine, but sometimes with too much headspace the keeping time is cut short because not all the air has been expelled.
you know what that means?
…to be on the safe side i better cocktail it up!
summer 2011 update:
i cut it down to 2 cups of sugar per quart and found the sweet/sour balance more to my taste.