Summer Picnics And Rhubarb Cordial

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As Summer fast approaches it’s time to get collecting fresh ingredients from the garden and when the sun’s shining down and you’re feeling hot, bothered and in need of delicious refreshment, there’s nothing better than creating sweet cordials which can be diluted with either sparkling water or Prosecco (depending on your mood). And last weekend we turned to rhubarb, already in plentiful supply. Rhubarb cordial is scrummy (even the anti rhubarb league at lunch yesterday enjoyed it) and it looks so pretty at picnics, particularly when poured in to tumblers and served with strawberries or fresh mint. It’s perfect after a hard day’s gardening and makes a change from crumble..

Rhubarb Cordial: You’ll Need:

3kg roughy chopped rhubarb

150 ml water

lemons

caster sugar

6 whole star anise (optional)

The Making:

Put the rhubarb in  a pan with the water. You can add 5 or 6 strips of lemon (easy if you use a potato peeler), the juice of a lemon and the star anise at this stage too. Cook over a low heat until the rhubarb is totally soft and mushy. Leave to cool for about an hour. Strain through a muslin cloth over a bowl. Don’t rush it or the cordial’s cloudy. The process takes several hours but leaving it overnight is best.

Now measure your juice: for every litre of juice add 750g sugar and 75ml lemon juice. Pour this all in to a pan and heat on a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Allow to cool.  Add 2 tsp citric acid if you’d like to store the cordial for several months (it’ll give it a serious tart kick) but if you’re using it straight away this isn’t necessary.

Bottle in sterilised bottles and seal.

Simply dilute with water or Prosecco. Add chopped berries and fresh mint and have a great picnic!

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