Hello, my name is Jenn and I’m a frozen fruit hoarder. There – I admitted it. I spend all summer stocking the freezer full of locally grown fruits and berries to be enjoyed in the winter months (13 gallons worth, last summer). I then miserly dole the fruit out – a batch of sorbet here, a fruit crumble there…and then one morning, I wake up and it’s March. Crocuses are peeking out from under melting snow, and the promise of Spring is in the air. I still have about 10 gallons of fruit in the freezer – Yikes! It’s time to bust out those bright fruits and enjoy last summer’s harvest as we await the new growing season! So if a bunch of summery recipes suddenly appear on the blog, know that I’m doing the hard labor of eating my fruits and veggies (a tough job, I know).
Amongst the bits and bobs lurking deep in my freezer drawer are a couple gallons of diced rhubarb. I love the stuff – it’s the first fruit of spring, and it means Grandma’s apple rhubarb pie. Rhubarb is forever bound to my memories of visits to my grandparents’ house. When they lived out on Van Dyke St, Grandpa had a HUGE garden (or so it seemed to my tiny self), and rhubarb was the first crop out of the field. I remember sitting in the grass with a tiny dish of sugar for dipping the rhubarb in and eating. My jaw aches a little just thinking about eating those puckery stalks raw. Later, when Grandma moved into town, the rhubarb went with her. Summer visits to Grandma’s house inevitably ended with my Mom and Grandma bent over the rhubarb patch and dropping the cut stalks into a paper grocery sack.
At our house, strawberry-rhubarb sauce was the favorite application – served in small bowls for breakfast, or spooned over vanilla ice cream. As I was scanning through Tastespotting.com last weekend, I came across Edible Portland’s recipe for rhubarb syrup & cocktails. The photo of the beautiful pink syrup was enough to send me into the kitchen to start making the syrup. And of course the cocktails soon followed.
As most of my friends know, a homemade margarita from fresh squeezed limes is my cocktail of choice – preferably sipped on our balcony overlooking Lake Michigan. I have to say, the Rhubarb Bloom might be stealing the ‘rita from the top spot in our house. The sweet-tart rhubarb syrup and lime juice are a perfect foil for the botanical gin. Shaken vigorously with ice and a few basil leaves, and you’ve got an outstandingly refreshing drink for Spring.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy the bounty of Spring rhubarb? Share in the comments below!
- Combine all in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and strain the liquid, pressing firmly on the rhubarb solids to extract all the tart juice. Save the solids for use in a pie or sorbet. Keep the syrup in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Rhubarb Bloom Cocktail
1oz rhubarb simple syrup
1/2oz lime juice
1 1/2oz gin
3 basil leaves
Scoop a handful of ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Add the rhubarb syrup, lime juice, gin and basil leaves. Close the shaker and shake vigorously for a minute or two, then strain into two chilled glasses, ice is optional.