Rhubarb Syrup makes for a refreshing and cooling drink on a hot summer’s day. It is sweet like a cordial but is also a touch sour.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
What is Forced Rhubarb?
Here in the UK, our rhubarb season starts early, in January, with the first crop that we call forced rhubarb.
Forced rhubarb is just as delicious as its outdoor counterpart, but tends to be less red and is a little more sour. Essentially the tips are covered by soil to stop them getting any sunlight. This forces them to keep reaching up (growing), looking for light. They are harvested when they are about 30cm (1 foot) long.
By around late April though, we start getting the pinker and slightly more sweet summer rhubarb., which are just perfect for today’s rhubarb syrup.
Is Rhubarb a Vegetable or Fruit?
Rhubarb is definitely a vegetable. In another post, I described it as having a split personality; it behaves like a fruit in flavour and aroma.
Rhubarb is too tart to be eaten raw and is therefore, always enjoyed cooked. Sugar tempers its sour disposition, as in our rhubarb syrup recipe today.
More Rhubarb Recipes
I have quite a few rhubarb recipes on this site, I love rhubarb in all manifestations: in desserts, in drinks and even in savoury dishes.
Here are some examples.
Rhubarb Syrup Recipe
Rhubarb Syrup is pretty easy to make, like any homemade cordial. All we do is:
- Chop up the rhubarb.
- Place all the ingredients (rhubarb, sugar, water and ginger) and simmer.
- Strain, and store in bottles or jars.
You didn’t believe me, did you?
Rhubarb Syrup is pretty traditional and popular in Iran, where it’s known as Sharbat-e rivas (شربت ریواس).
The word sharbat refers to any number of cordials or sweet drinks made from fruits and vegetables and served cold.
You could use this same method with any number of fruit and create your own concoctions, with traditional lemonade coming to mine. All you are doing is flavouring and infusing the simple syrup (sugar and water).
Cordials are meant to be sweet, as they are diluted with water before being drunk. My son likes to add it to his lemonade (7Up), which makes it too sweet for my taste, so I always make some with half strength for him!
The ginger in the recipe is optional. I find that ginger, with its spicy and citrusy notes, enhances the flavour of rhubarb, and almost always use them together in drinks.
Let’s get our aprons on!
Sterilising Jars and Bottles to Store our Rhubarb Syrup
- Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
- Wash the jars, bottles and lids in hot soapy water.
- Place the jars, bottles and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and leave the jars, bottles and lids in there, bringing them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.
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And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
Cheers!/ !به سلامتی Lin
Rhubarb Syrup, Sharbat-eh Rivas
- Chopping board
- bottles to store the syrup in
- 500 g rhubarb
- 300 g white sugar
- 500 ml water
- 5 cm ginger (optional)
- Rinse the rhubarb well and chop them up into 5cm (2″) stalks.
- Place everything into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil on medium heat. No need to skim any surface scum. If you don’t boil it vigorously, there will hardly be any.
- Lower the heat right down and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes until the rhubarb has fallen apart.
- Strain into a sterilised jar or bottle, either using a fine mesh strainer or a muslin cloth lined strainer, as discussed above.
- Store in a cool place and use within 2 weeks. If it lasts that long! I tend to keep mine in the fridge, although it’s not necessary, given all that sugar!
- To serve, just dilute with water, as you would any cordial, at a ratio of 1 syrup:4 water. But this is a matter of taste.