This rhubarb punch makes its appearance in the spring, just about the time the fairies wake up from their winter’s rest and start to explore the spring garden.
When the kids were very young, we started searching for fairies in the garden. We actually got a photo of one once, in the early spring after the snow had just melted and daffodils and violets were starting to sprout. They must have been stretching their wings after their long nap. It was quite exciting, and if the rhubarb had already sprouted, we probably celebrated with what the kids named fairy punch.
Rhubarb is one of the first garden plants to harvest. It is easy to grow, and once planted, you will have it always. The stalks are tart and sour, some folks like eating it raw with just a little salt. It is a vegetable, but most often, it is mixed with fruits to create a sweet and sour treat. Beware, while the stalks are edible, the leaf material itself is not edible.
We also make this pretty pink punch. It is sweet, and it is tart. I like it on the tart side, but if you would like it sweeter, simply increase the sugar to 1 ½ cups or so. Taste after you bring it to the boil and the sugar is dissolved.
Pink or blush, this drink is refreshing
The pink is refreshing even before you take a drink, and if you don’t have strawberries on hand, you can use raspberries. Or, you can omit both; the punch will have a lovely subtle blush color. My grandson loves this with strawberries, but since his favorite pie is strawberry rhubarb, that is not surprising.
For a less sweet drink, mix this half and half with unsweetened iced tea for a unique flavor. It is a natural way to add pink to lemonade as well as most lemonade is made with red food coloring.
Make the basic drink, or turn it into a bubbly celebration punch with something fizzy. It is delicious as a spritzer with a little sparkling water or club soda added, and of course, a little prosecco is delightful with a hearty splash of this!
Just don’t forget to invite the fairies!
Rhubarb Strawberry Punch
This is quick to make, and you can store it in the refrigerator for a week.
4 cups rhubarb, about a pound
8 ounces strawberries
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 cups water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Ginger ale or sparkling water
Chop rhubarb and slice strawberries. Combine fruits, sugar, salt, and water and place in a saucepan over medium high heat.
Bring to a boil (taste for sugar. If you want it sweeter, add sugar now), cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain, and cool, then add the lemon juice.
To serve, drink as is over ice, or add sparkling water or club soda. A spring of mint is nice here too.
Spirited version: Add a splash to a glass of prosecco or champagne!
Fewer carbs: Mix this half and half with hibiscus tea.
To make a punch for a crowd, double the recipe and add a quart of orange or other favorite juice. Mix with ginger ale, and float strawberry and lemon slices in the punch.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.