Last summer, looking at my still flourishing rhubarb patch, a friend said “We used to make pies and jam and then made the rest into rhubarb juice.” Really? This had never crossed my mind. Just cook it down a bit and strain it, she said. So I did. It’s wonderful. Like pink lemonade, only better.
Cut then cook in stainless steel
Cut washed rhubarb stalks into 1″ pieces and put them in a large stainless steel stock pot. I did 16 cups of chopped rhubarb at a time. That’s about 25-30 rhubarb stalks.
I added water to more than cover the rhubarb and cooked it on medium heat until it softened, about 30 mins. Then I added sugar, 2 cups to start. The amount depends on how sweet you want the juice. Cook the rhubarb another 20 mins until completely soft. Taste the juice and add more sugar if you like. I added about another half cup. Add sugar when the juice is hot so it will dissolve.
While it cooked, I lined a big colander with 3 layers of cheesecloth, overhanging the edges. Use stainless steel, plastic or enamel. Rhubarb will discolour, and be discoloured by, some metals.
Drain in stainless steel or plastic
It freezes well. Don’t fill the bottle right to the top so it has room to expand. You can also bottle it in sealer-lid jars. Here is how to do that. This recipe, however, is for a concentrate. So you add water when you want to drink it. Some recipes also call for zest (grated rind) of lemon or orange, added while the rhubarb is cooking.