When you grow rhubarb you understand it's either a feast or a famine. Those pretty red and green stalks can be few and far between while you're waiting for them, as soon as you ignore it, that rhubarb crown will just go beserk.
When this happens in your garden, make Rhubarb Champagne. It's a delicious, slightly fizzy, pretty pink drink that's as easy to make as ginger beer and just as refreshing. And if you grow rhubarb and lemons and make your own apple cider vinegar it is really, really cheap - about $1.00 to make.
5 litres cold water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3-1/2 cups rhubarb
3-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Step 1. Wash rhubarb and lemon. Don't peel the lemon but slice it thinly. Cut the rhubarb into rough chunks.
Step 2. In a clean and sterilised bucket put the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, rhubarb and lemon. Sit the bucket in a warm spot on your kitchen bench. Don't put a lid on the bucket, the mixture needs to gather the natural yeasts in the air to start the fermentation process. Leave for 48 hours (no longer or the rhubarb will sour the drink and it will be ruined).
Step 3. On bottling day, wash and sterilise bottles and caps. I use recycled soft drink bottles that have been thoroughly washed and cleaned; you can use cleaned and sterilised wine or beer bottles and caps if you can get them.
Step 4. Strain the rhubarb champagne through a cheesecloth or Chux. Add the rhubarb and lemon to the compost or feed the scraps to your chickens if you have them. Bottle and cap the champagne. Store in a dark cupboard for up to 2 weeks.
The drink is ready in three days - two weeks, depending on how fizzy you like your drinks and of course the weather, it's ready earlier in summer than it is in winter. Chill well before serving.
Makes four 1.25ml bottles of rhubarb champagne.
From the Drinks Recipe File
One of my biggest bug bears is wasting food.
When you throw food out, or even put food in the bokashi, you are throwing your money away.
We have pineapple with our salads, and one tin does two meals for the five of us. When I open a tin, I take out the four slices we need, then tip the other slices and juice into a container and put it in the fridge until the next night.
The Aldi pineapple rings in juice are what we like. They are bought in bulk when I replenish the stockpile each year.
After I use the remaining pineapple slices, instead of drinking the juice, or worse, pouring it down the drain, I make a quick marinade with it.
I add a slurp of vegetbable oil, a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of garlic and give it all a shake.
Then I plan chicken for the next night, take it out of the freezer and pour the marinade over. Let it marinate overnight in the fridge and then it can be baked, fried or barbecued.
And nothing is wasted!