i did a terrible thing last year: when eggboy pointed out that our house came with a very large, very low-maintenance, very beautiful rhubarb patch, i went out, did my thing, enjoyed a lot of blintzes about it, and then despite how many times i told myself that i was going to continue to have my way with all of that rhubarb, i did not. i used next to none of it. i neglected it and it died.
i have lived with this guilt for one year.
so the other day when i was working with all of the eggs to put in our little garden and saw across the yard that our rhubarb had sprang up, i ran as fast as i could safely run while carrying scissors to collect a very large armful of it. (it was more of a trot.) eggsister and i immediately dipped a stalk in sugar and ate it as if it were nature's fun dip, and then i chopped some up for rhubarb water to make this simple syrup. later, eggboy blew my mind by informing me that rhubarb is a vegetable and not a fruit. am i the last person to learn that??
i've been making cakes with it and giving away bouquets to everyone that crosses our path. celeste even took some on her road trip back to portland. (that's her in the photo hiding behind the big fat leaves, don't eat the leaves!) and once i'm all rhubarbed out, i am going to chop it all up and freeze it for the year. i'm feeling good about our little rhubarb patch. real good.
i like this syrup because it allows you to experience rhubarb in all of its celery-ish sour glory without much other schmutz there to salt its game. sometimes i worry that rhubarb gets bitter about always having to share the spotlight with strawberries, you know. i like adding this to soda water and cocktails... what else do people use simple syrup for? snow cones? snow cones!!!
rhubarb simple syrup
makes about 4 cups, which is a lot of simple syrup, i know. there's no shame in halving this.
2 pounds rhubarb, chopped
3 c sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
place the rhubarb in a large pot and cover it with water. bring to a boil, and then simmer it for an hour. (if you have the time, i like letting it cool overnight to really make sure that the rhubarb flavor is extra strong, but if not that's ok.)
strain the water into a bowl or large measuring cup and discard the rhubarb. measure out three cups of the water and pour it back into your pot. if you're left with more rhubarb water, you can discard it, or you can add it to the pot, just make sure that you have equal parts sugar and water.
whisk the sugar with the water and bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. stir in the lemon juice and let it cool.
serve with soda water, cocktails, snow cones, or whatever else you'd like!
ooh and do you see those fun coasters in the photos? they are from small gunns, a really awesome san francisco-based company! this week i'm giving away one small gunns linen set: a table runner, six coasters, and six napkins. to enter this giveaway, leave a comment with 1) your favorite use for rhubarb, and 2) your favorite color of these linens. i'll choose a winner next week! open to u.s. residents. update: this giveaway is now closed.