Tuesday, 30 June 2015

How to preserve Rhubarb for winter months/ Rhubarb preserving methods.



If pink is the color to love, Rhubarb must be the plant of love.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love them.
 It has high water content, also low in calories, high in fiber and Vitamin C. As they are seasonal you will get some nice rhubarbs during late winter and early spring. Due to the changing weather pattern here in The UK this year we had some amazing rhubarb even in June  and July. Last week we had a warm afternoon tea at our friend Sue’s house and she gave us some amazing juicy rhubarb. So I thought about preserving them for the late summer months.
As they are seasonal you will get some nice rhubarbs during late winter and early spring. Due to the changing weather pattern here in The UK this year we had some amazing rhubarb even in June  and July. Last week we had a warm afternoon tea at our friend Sue’s house and she gave us some amazing juicy rhubarb. So I thought about preserving them for the late summer months.
this year we had some amazing rhubarb even in June  and July. Last week we had a warm afternoon tea at our friend Sue’s house and she gave us some amazing juicy rhubarb. So I thought about preserving them for the late summer months.
A word of warning, I heard about a few incidents of rhubarb poisoning from my friends. So I thought, it is worth mentioning about how to identify good rhubarbs.


How to identify poisonous rhubarb?


One easy way to identify the  good ones are, they normally are large, thick and pink or/and green. If you are getting your rhubarb from wild make sure they are not poisonous (there are wild and poisonous rhubarb out there) on a safer side, even from supermarkets or local markets I avoid using the leaves and use only the stalk. 



Methods of preserving the rhubarb.
Freeze (no cooking method):
It is the simplest and most common, followed method. Make sure the stalks you got is really fresh and juicy. Clean the stalks and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Remove the water content and place them on parchment paper not touching one another and transfer them to a baking pan. Freeze them for few hours and keep this in freezer bag afterwards,  you can keep this for at least a few months.





Blanching:
Boil the stalks for one minute and immediately transfer this to cold water, then drain all the water after a few minutes. Pat dry and freeze.









Wet solutions:
You can make several wet solutions or pickling method for the safe keep of rhubarb.







In Sugar solution:
Water-  enough to cover rhubarb stalks.
Sugar  – as per your taste (I use one tablespoon sugar for one cup water).



Method:
Boil the water and add sugar, mix well till the sugar dissolves. Allow this to cool.
Keep rhubarb in an airtight container and pour the water mix over this.
(You can replace sugar with salt if you intend to use rhubarb as sandwich filling or in salads.
You can replace the water with honey or juices you like orange or grape juice will give you an additional flavor. You don’t need to boil the juice you can use it as it is.)



Spicy rhubarb the Christmas special: This is my favorite way of preserving rhubarbs.
1.    Rum/ brandy – 1 cup
2.    Rhubarb stalks – one cup
3.    Clove – 1 or two.
4.    Fresh ginger- thin slice – one teaspoon.
5.    Fresh cardamom, crushed – one or two.
6.    Black pepper – crushed – ¼ teaspoon.
7.    Cinnamon- a small price
8.    Nutmeg- a small piece.
9.    Honey – 1 tablespoon (optional)
Method.
Mix all the ingredients together and pour this liquid over the rhubarb and keep this in an airtight container. Keep the bottle in the fridge and shake the bottle in between for the first few days.  I never freeze it, from June till December they are a happy looking rhubarb bottle sitting there waiting to go with Christmas dinner, when I add fruits and veg for my Christmas roast this is the hero among all those veggies. I always add them at the end to retain that alcoholic taste.

If you don’t like rum you can use  hot water boiled with all these spices and honey.

During early winter, this spicy rhubarbs go with a hot toast, stir fry, ice cream or pasta as extra topping.


P.S: - When you freeze always make sure there is enough head space in the jar, I only fill 1/3rd of the jar. Also keep the coolest place in your freezer for longer shelf life.






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