Friday, June 8, 2012

Rhubarb After Wine

... when you make rhubarb wine, you have shrunken, lightly sweetened rhubarb pieces left in your strainer.  They could be composted.  I tasted one -- just the right amount of sweetness (most of the sugar used in extracting the juice is in the juice). 

I really like the rhubarb-elderberry flavor combo I'm using in the wine.  I've got some elderberries frozen in the freezer.  The rhubarb chunks and a cup of elderberries went into my 2 quart glass measure (nice deep sides and a handy handle) and into the microwave.  First for three minutes, another three minutes, and then two (microwave wattages vary, so break up cooking times the first time out with something -- you can add more time to cook more, you can't undo overcooking).  The rosy hue of the rhubarb deepened,  a lot of the chunks held their shape with some saucing, and the result tasted divine over sourdough waffles with yogurt on top.  On the weekend away at a potluck breakfast I found it went equally well with yogurt on granola.  People also ate it as a side.  It was universally loved.

On the next batch of wine,  I cooked the sauce on the stove and canned it.

Rhubarb-Elderberry Sauce  (makes 5 half-pints)

6 cups rhubarb chunks (juice extracted via sugar)
1 cup elderberries (frozen is fine)
5 half-pint jars

  1. Clean and heat jars as for any canning.
  2. Cook the rhubarb and elderberries together.  The sauce is done when remaining juice in the rhubarb and juice from the elderberries combine and make a lightly gelled base for the softened fruit.  It will soften more during processing.
  3. Spoon into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Use a knife or spatula to get out air pockets.
  4. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  
  5. Remove, cool, check that seals are made, label and store.
If you are making two batches of wine (two gallons) at the same time or a few days apart (store the chunks from the first batch in the refrigerator), you can double the recipe and put it into pint jars.  The water bath processing should then be 20 minutes.

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