On the far end of their lush, weed-free, perfectly tilled garden, my grandparents grew the most beautiful rhubarb I have ever seen. Boosted by rotted cow manure, the stalks and leaves were enormous and resembled exotic tropical plants – hardly something that would grow in Wisconsin.
Rhubarb is a unique vegetable and doesn’t seem like it would be highly utilized in the kitchen. (Yes. It is a vegetable; not a fruit.) Well, my grandma was rhubarb crazy! She used it in pies, tortes, cakes, jams, breads, bars, and even punch. In fact, punch is my favorite use for rhubarb. The boiled down, strained rhubarb juice concentrate, combined with a splash of sour mixer, ginger ale, or lemon lime soda, has a pungent, tart, yet sweet flavor that must be experienced to be appreciated.
A rhubarb drink doesn’t sound like it would be tasty, does it? In fact, it sounds downright awful! Believe it or not, it is quite delicious… one of my favorite summertime beverages.
6-8 cups rhubarb (chopped)
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
4 cups water
12 oz. frozen lemonade
1 quart sour mixer, ginger ale or lemon lime soda
Cook the rhubarb and water until the rhubarb becomes soft and mushy. Strain juice from rhubarb. Add frozen lemonade and sugar. Stir and refrigerate. To serve, fill glass 2/3 with rhubarb concentrate and top off with soda. A fresh strawberry makes a nice garnish!