Who knew that rhubarb could be such a versatile vegetable? We can now add drinks to our ever-growing list of recipe uses for rhubarb.
Punch, a beverage originated in India (pronounced "panch") - tomata/tomato - potata/potato, came to us in the early seventeenth century from England. Punch is normally made with a fruit juice - not sure who takes credit with coming up with the idea to use rhubarb (a vegetable) - but we'll pretend it was a Nova Scotian (a rhubarb lovin' German settler perhaps). The German's were apparently really into their punch as well. Pronounced "punsch", the German version often added wine or liquor to the recipe.
Summer has made a late entrance this year in our end of the world - but with the sun shinin' and the temperature risin', it's the perfect time to prepare this cool and refreshing, sweet and tart summer drink. If you're lucky, you can still pick up some fresh rhubarb from your local farmers' market (we spotted some last week at the Halifax Seaport Market), otherwise frozen will work just fine.
1 quart chopped rhubarb (4 cups)
1 quart water
1/3 cup orange juice
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water - dissolve sugar in boiling water)
Few grains of salt
1 pint (2 cups) mineral water (or ginger ale)
Cut rhubarb into small pieces and cook in 1 quart of water until rhubarb is soft. Strain liquid through cheesecloth (if you're fresh out of cheesecloth, a strainer will work just fine). Discard rhubarb. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup and salt to rhubarb juice. When ready to serve - pour over ice in punch bowl and add mineral water of ginger ale. Allow to get very cold. Makes 8 regular glasses, or 24 punch glasses.
Dutch Oven Tips & Tricks:
This recipe was pretty straight forward to prepare, no big surprises. We reduced the recipe to half as we didn't want a large amount and this worked just fine. This recipe is delicious as is, however if you'd like to try it with a German twist, punsch it up using sparkling wine instead of mineral water or ginger ale. Check Wines of Nova Scotia for some great local options.
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