Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb….

Following on from the success of the British Onion post last month, we’ve decided to continue the format of giving you a selection of recipes from professional kitchens featuring one particular piece of produce. At the moment in the UK it is the height of the forced rhubarb season with arguably the best examples coming from what is known as the Wakefield Triangle in Yorkshire.

Although considered a vegetable in Europe, in America it is classified as fruit after a New York court ruling in 1947, resulting in lower taxation. With only really the leaves (which are toxic) not being used, both the root & the stems are utilised during the harvesting process, the stems mainly for desserts and the roots for a rich brown dye used in the clothing industry.

Earlier in the year the blog reviewed The Cliff House Cook Book by Martijn Kajuiter. Normally when we do the book reviews we cook one or two recipes from the books to try them out. At the time, Martijn’s Rhubarb Gin looked like the type of recipe that would come in handy and after consulting with the man himself, he gave us his blessing to repeat the recipe.

Rhubarb Gin

For a 1 Litre Kilner jar you will need;

500g Rhubarb

250g Sugar

8 Mint Leaves

About 500ml Dry Gin (Martijn uses Cork Dry Gin)

  • Cut the rhubarb into small pieces and add the sugar & the mint leaves.
  • Mix well and put into the kilner jar.
  • Pour the gin on top of the rhubarb, making sure the jar is full to the brim.
  • Secure the lid and put the jar in a pan of simmering water.
  • After 25 minutes, take the jar out and shake well.
  • Keep the jar at room temperature for at least 10 weeks.
  • Shake well again & strain.
  • Use a ladle and sieve to squeeze out all the juices from the rhubarb.
  • Pour into a suitable bottle. The gin is now ready.

As usual we’ve also resorted to our virtual library of recipes to see what else we have in store. The blog always likes to share recipes which are tried and tested in the professional arena but are also a little bit different. As we flicked through the pages of handwritten & photocopied notes, we came across the two following recipes both from the same Michelin starred chef.

Rhubarb Jam

5kg Rhubarb

6kg Preserving sugar (high in pectin)

75g Fresh ginger, coarsely chopped

10 Lemons

780g Water

  • Cut the Rhubarb and place in to a bowl big enough to include the sugar.
  • Cover with the sugar and allow to stand overnight.
  • Place into a suitable sized thick bottomed pan & add the water.
  • Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pan.
  • Reserve the pips & place into a muslin bag along with the chopped up ginger.
  • Bring to the boil quickly and skim, continue to boil until 110°C (or Jam).
  • Place in sterilised jars and steam for 25 minutes & then chill.

Our other recipe again is something slightly different and a bit of a departure from what most chefs would do with this wonderful vegetable. Although a pickle may not be to everybody’s taste, during the summer with a charcuterie platter it makes a refreshing change.

Rhubarb pickle

Makes about 3lb or 1.3kg (for anybody born after 1980)

900g Rhubarb, chopped into chunky size pieces

455g Dark soft brown sugar

425ml Cider vinegar

2 Oranges, zest & juiced

4g Ground ginger

12g Mustard seed

1g Cloves

8g Cinnamon stick

  • Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, add the orange zest & juice, mustard seeds, cloves, cinnamon & ginger.
  • Bring to the boil, then add the rhubarb.
  • Simmer until tender, but don’t overcook.
  • Remove the rhubarb and place in a sterilised jar with a slotted spoon.
  • Reduce the remaining liquid until at a syrupy stage, then pour over the rhubarb in the jar. Steam for 25 minutes then cool.

2 Responses to “Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb….”
  1. Chumbles says:

    I read that as “Killer Gin” – seems appropriate somehow. I’ve tasted something like this before and it is insidious, because one is not enough!

    As for the commentor telling you how often to blog – it’s your blog, not his! I’d rather read what you want to post, not because you’ve spooned out some drivel simply to make sure there’s something on here. So keep on trucking!

    • chefhermes says:

      Many thanks for your comments Chumbles. Clearly as a long standing reader of the blog, you probably appriciate more than most the level of growth in the blog and the effort to achieve this.

      As ever there will be a minority that don’t understand this blog, but you have hit the nail on the head with your comment.

      Many thanks for the continued support & comments

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