If you ever get a chance to visit Ludlow, in Shropshire, go! It is the most beautiful market town, almost into Wales, full of original old buildings, a castle and a thriving market on nearly every day, bar Sunday. There are hardly any chain shops and it’s all about independent trading and looking out for one another. John and I visit regularly and part of me always want to stay! Apart from catching up with friends, the other reason we love it is that there is a wonderful café on the bank of the river where amazing meals are served and is so welcoming! It is quite small inside but there are some seats and tables outside overlooking the water – and, if you are a little cold, are provided with hot water bottles and a blanket! Apart from the food, they make the best hot rhubarb cordial – only served seasonally, so you have to make the most of the growing time and go often! The rhubarb in my garden is growing really well this year (I remembered this time to net it over to stop the hens eating the leaves!) so I thought it would be fun to have a go making it myself.
The health benefits of rhubarb include its ability to improve digestion, stimulate bone growth, boost skin health, improve circulation and metabolism and full of fibre, vitamin C, K and B, and calcium. So let’s make the most of its time and as well as making crumbles and pies, bottle up some cordial and enjoy with either hot or cold water, sparkling water – you can even serve it with prosseco!
- 450g rhubarb, chopped
- 225g sugar (I know it seems a lot, but remember you are going to dilute it and don’t need a lot)
- 300ml water
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
Put the sugar and water into a large saucepan. Add the rhubarb, zests and juices and bring to the boil. Cook until the rhubarb is completely mushy (technical term!). Put a piece of muslin over a large bowl (I secure mine with an elastic band) and pour the liquid and fruit into it. Leave it to drip through overnight. Bottle and keep in the fridge (I have no idea how long it will last as it seems to go as fast as I can make it, but I would think about 1 week to 10 days)
PS if you want to make more, I work on a ration of half sugar to weight of rhubarb and up the water slightly.