This is the time of year when the rhubarb patch is enormous. Big juicy red, pink and green stalks and elephant ear leaves are impressive. I have five rhubarb clumps: one rescued from an abandoned farm; one bought at a nursery or maybe two; and two I received as gifts from our son-in-law’s home in Duluth.
I started rhubarb wine, a tipple Doug likes. I don’t like rhubarb at all. It sets my teeth on edge. (Just talking about the feeling brings my incisors together.)
Doug is now drinking 2012 rhubard wine during cocktail hour. I have also won prizes for it at Clearwater County Fair, so other tasters must like it, too.
Here’s the recipe, the simplest wine. For 1 gallon:
3 lb of rhubarb, chopped
3 lb white sugar
Mix the sugar and rhubarb in a nonreactive pot (I use a stainless steel 8-quart soup pot.) Let the mixture stand for two days so the sugar can draw out the juice. Mash and stir the rhubarb occasionally. Pour rhubard and liquid through a colander. Rinse and dissolve remaining sugar and add to the liquid to make up one gallon.
Pour into glass gallon jugs (I have three I keep year to year. They were cheap Carlo Rossi wine jugs.) Add white wine yeast (available at Harmony Coop). A packet works for 5 gallons, so just add a smidge. Insert a rubber cork with a hole in the middle to accommodate an air lock, also available at Harmony. Let the liquid ferment at room temperature. It will burble so that you might keep checking to see if a tap is dripping. After the fermentation action quits and the wine clears, you can put it in smaller bottles by siphoning. That will prevent the sludge at the bottom of the jug from clouding the wine. Some people make this wine one week and drink it the next. We age it in the root cellar for one year.
Now, I have found quite a few quarts of frozen strawberries from 2012. The picking season will start in a few weeks, so I’ll use the frozen berries up in rhubard-strawberry jam. One can also use the rhubarb mash to make jam.