Monday 9 June 2014

Rhubarb Ted

Rhubarb Ted

I knew a funny little man
His name was Rhubard Ted;
They called him that because he wore
Rhubarb on his head.
I’d grown so used to this strange sight;
The cause I did not seek;
But then one day to my surprise
I saw he wore a leek.
I asked him if he’d please explain
And let me know the reason;
He said “I’m wearing leek because,
Rhubarb’s out of season!”
Ann O’Connor

As kids we loved that poem from The Story Teller collection.  Remember those?  We could only ever remember the first four lines and the last one.  The rest of it escaped us. 

I came across a recipe for rhubarb and ginger cordial during the week.  It brought back lovely memories of a gorgeous lunch we had last summer in No. 9 café in Waterford where they served homemade pink lemonade.

I know rhubarb and lemonade are a tiny bit different but I had more rhubarb than lemons and you know what they say about when life hands you rhubarb.  Well, you made rhubarb cordial.  Of course.

The ingredients you will need are:
500g rhubarb
250g sugar
1 lemon
A nice thumb sized piece of ginger
500ml water

Couldn’t be simpler.  Chop the rhubarb into chunks and put into a saucepan.  Add the sugar, lemon juice, slices of ginger and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer and enjoy the absolutely delicious aroma for about 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft.
Then sieve the whole lot into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

It is divine as one part cordial to two parts sparkling water and loads of ice.  Of course, an alcoholic drink of your choice would probably also knock the socks off you with this as a mixer.  I’d love to hear how you get on with this if you opt to try it out.   

The pink!!!  So pretty!
As an aside and a little bonus, this gem is a win win because not only do you yield a gorgeous, zingy, refreshing cordial but your pan gets cleaned to boot.  Rhubarb contains a compound called oxalic acid.  This is found in the leaves but there are lesser amounts in the stems – the edible part – and as rhubarbs to be cooked before eating, the acid released during cooking cleans your pan.

Before I forget.  The stewed fruit could also be enjoyed with a hefty spoonful of good vanilla ice-cream if you so choose.   Learn a lesson from me though.  Make sure your saucepan is simmering and not on a merry low boil.  My fruit resembled wallpaper paste when the cordial was brewed and I think we all know you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth. 

My stewed fruit had to be disposed of unfortunately.  It just was not pleasing to the eye.

Next time round I will have lovely rhubarb and ice-cream.


  1. Oh I might try this, have plenty in the garden, looks lovely... the colour!!

    1. Naomi, it is well worth it. Absolutely gorgeous. I also forgot the sparkling water. It just seems impossible for me to remember it despite being in the supermarket about three times since I made the cordial. We've been making do with large cubes of ice!

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