I’m on a rhubarb bender this year. I’ve made many recipes with rhubarb including barbecue sauce and a vinaigrette. But in surfing the internet recipes I’m way behind in my explorations. I haven’t tried making rhubarb Jello or rhubarb lemonade yet to mention only two! Both of those require rhubarb juice so I was off to the in-laws to collect more.
I thought I’d picked a lot of rhubarb but later at home after I trimmed the ends it was only around a pound of rhubarb. I diced it all and put it into a large saucepan and added water just to cover it. I didn’t add any sugar or spices, preferring to add those as I used the juice in recipes later.
I brought the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduced it to medium low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. By then it was very soft and falling apart. I was surprised it cooked so fast, I’d thought it would take longer to be ready to press the juices out.
After cooling the rhubarb mash for 30 minutes, I put it into a fine metal strainer to remove the pulp. I gently pressed the pulp with a spoon to get all of the rhubarb goodness through the mesh.
I poured the juice into bottles for storage. I used my storage system for pureed soups to freeze the juice in plastic bottles.
Then I went back to the in-laws, this time determined to pick a mountain of rhubarb. It was mid-September and up North it freezes super early. I thought I might as well use it while I could harvest it. Nobody else was using it!
As I was cleaning and dicing the next batch I was thinking about making rhubarb Jello. Most of the recipes I’d seen used strawberry or another flavor of actual Jello, and substituted some rhubarb juice for some of the cold water. Strawberry and rhubarb are an ideal match, we’ve had them in several recipes such as coffee cake and muffins. I thought it might be interesting to use regular gelatin and make a pure rhubarb gelatin. I could also imagine crushed pineapple in it as a fruit salad with whipped topping.
My second rhubarb harvest produced about 10 cups of juice, much more satisfying than the 2 1/2 bottles the first harvest produced. Totally worth the cleaning and chopping! And really, it doesn’t take long to wash and chop all of that rhubarb. Besides the 10 cups of juice, I froze packages of diced rhubarb for baking during the cold winter months. I put them in 1 and 2 cup portions in zippered freezer bags, double bagged to prevent freezer burn.