Saturday, 14 May 2011

Handy Household Hints No. 1: Rhubarb Cordial

I always make a batch of elderflower cordial each year, but this year I thought that I'd have a go at making rhubarb cordial by adapting my elderflower recipe. This is very much a protoype, but I thought I'd share it with you in case you fancy having a go.

3 kg of rhubarb, sliced into small pieces

3 litres of boiling water
2 lemons, sliced (I prefer to use the unwaxed ones)
3 kg of granulated sugar (a kg for each litre of water used)
40g of citric acid*

First, find a container that is large enough to hold the above ingredients; I like to use an old bread crock and cover it with a plate.

Put the sugar into the container and pour all of the boiling water on top. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (or mostly dissolved if the sugar is being stubborn!), then add the citric acid and stir into the liquid.

Add the rhubarb and lemons and stir, then cover the container.

Giving it a daily stir, leave the cordial to steep for about five days.

If you want to store your cordial for longer than a couple of months, its best to sterilize your bottles before bottling up. To sterilize, you can put all your bottles through the hottest dishwasher cycle and leave until dry (what I do), or use a wine kit sterilizing solution or a solution used for cleaning baby bottles.

Before straining the cordial, remove the rhubarb and lemons with a slotted spoon. Then using a large funnel lined with a muslin cloth to catch any stray rhubarb pieces and lemon pips, strain the liquid through the funnel and into the sterilized bottle.

Citric acid is a natural preservative and can be brought over the counter from pharmacists for about a £1 for a 50g box. If you want to store your cordial for longer than a couple of months, you'll need to add citric acid.

If you've added the citric acid and have used sterilized bottles, the cordial should keep for up to a year in a fridge or in a cool, dark place.

And finally...
I've found when making elderflower cordial that the longer you leave it, the better it tastes and there's no reason why this shouldn't apply to this cordial also.

If you have any citric acid left over, its great for de-scaling a kettle. I fill up the kettle then add a tablespoon of citric acid and then boil. Empty, then rinse and you should be left with the inside of the kettle shiny and limescale-free.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my rhubarb recipe before Blogger ate up and then regurgitated this post yesterday!

I've just bottled up the batch that I let steep this week aand am surprised at the lovely pink colour of the cordial - although it looks a bit orange-y in the below photo.


  1. Sounds great, I'll have to give my folks your recipe, they have tons of rhubarb. Never made elderflower cordial but they make elderflower champagne which is lovely! I made a wild plum vodka ;last Summer which was fantastic, will share that recipe when they're in season again.

  2. VK, you are a genius because if I have to eat stewed rhubarb one more time I think I may have to scream, scream and scream again until I'm sick or something like that. I will be getting Mr J and P on the case. Thanks for sharing.

  3. interesting, i really never have thought of doing anything like cordial. i did make jam... thanks for sharing - i do like rhubarb! x

  4. Thank you for that lovely looking recipe. I will have a go at making some!
    Isabelle x

  5. Great pyrex bowl too!
    Cant wait for your other hints :-)

  6. I've made elderflower, but never rhubarb - might give that a go - it looks a pretty colour! Thanks for recipe. Abby x

  7. I'm liking the sound of this, sadly the rhubarb plant's only got four stalks on it so I think I'll be going thirsty. xxx

  8. mmmm this sounds so refreshing and yummy! i love rhubard, especially in strawberry rhubar pies! =)

  9. I like the sound of this but no patience to make it lol. Love your pyrex! Scarlett x

  10. This sounds truly scrumptious I'm definitely going to give this a go!!
    I made an elderflower champagne last year which was really delicious, if a little bit too alcholic:)

  11. Hello and thanks for all yor comments.

    By the way, elderflower cordial tastes great mixed with vodka, so I'm hoping that the rhubarb cordial will go well with the voddy too!


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