Ingredients: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.
Bottling: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.
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.