26 March 2014

31 Days of MOO No. 26 - Making Rhubarb Champagne

When you grow rhubarb you understand it's either a feast or a famine. Those pretty red and green stalks can be few and far between while you're waiting for them, as soon as you ignore it, that rhubarb crown will just go beserk.

That's what has happened with my rhubarb. I've been waiting and waiting for decent sized stalks to start preserving for winter. As soon as I became busy with other preserving those stalks have grown tall and thick and there are hundreds of them.

Most of them have been turned into stewed rhubarb or sugared rhubarb for winter pies. But I kept some back, to make Rhubarb Champagne. It's a delicious, slightly fizzy, pretty pink drink that's as easy to make as ginger beer and just as refreshing. And if you grow rhubarb and lemons and make your own apple cider vinegar it is really, really cheap - about $1.00 to make

Rhubarb Champagne

5 litres cold water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3-1/2 cups rhubarb
3-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Step 1. Wash rhubarb and lemon. Don't peel the lemon but slice it thinly. Cut the rhubarb into rough chunks.

Step 2. In a clean and sterilised bucket put the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, rhubarb and lemon. Sit the bucket in a warm spot on your kitchen bench. Don't put a lid on the bucket, the mixture needs to gather the natural yeasts in the air to start the fermentation process. Leave for 48 hours (no longer or the rhubarb will sour the drink and it will be ruined).

Step 3. On bottling day, wash and sterilise bottles and caps. I use recycled soft drink bottles that have been thoroughly washed and cleaned; you can use cleaned and sterilised wine or beer bottles and caps if you can get them.

Step 4. Strain the rhubarb champagne through a cheesecloth or Chux. Add the rhubarb and lemon to the compost or feed the scraps to your chickens if you have them. Bottle and cap the champagne. Store in a dark cupboard for up to 2 weeks.

The drink is ready in three days - two weeks, depending on how fizzy you like your drinks and of course the weather, it's ready earlier in summer than it is in winter. Chill well before serving.

Makes four 1.25ml bottles of rhubarb champagne.

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1 comment:

  1. I made a batch of this & while the sample was sweet & lovely, the bottled ones still taste like vinegar. Any solutions?


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