Rhubarb Fizz

14 Aug

A couple of weeks ago I trimmed my rhubarb back, fertilised it generously and mulched heavily. A lot of the stalks that I pulled off were dry and well past their best, but some still looked good.

I was looking for an interesting way to use them and stumbled across a great recipe in Sally Wise’s book A Year in a Bottle that I was given for my birthday.

The recipe is titled Sparkling Rhubarb and it is a naturally fermented sparkling rhubarb drink.

I had about enough rhubarb for a half batch, so I thought I’d give it a go. I won’t reproduce the recipe here, but Sally has also published it on her wonderful blog.

I started by briefly washing the rhubarb and combining it with sugar, water, lemon and cider vinegar in the bowl of my KitchenAid. I find the bowl is a wonderful size for quite a few projects like this.

I then covered it with a tea towel and left for 48 hours before straining and pouring the liquid (now nicely pink) into PET bottles.

After several days I noticed a growth on the top of one of the bottles. I suspected that this was a natural yeast (that would be creating the bubbles), but I thought I’d open the bottle and strain it because it looked ugly.

Within a few days the same thing happened to the other bottle, and I left that one to grow away. Two weeks later the growth is bigger but still looks like yeast, not anything else nasty. When I put it in the fridge the yeast sinks to the bottom.

Yesterday was the moment of truth. A bunch of girlfriends were around and I cracked open the first bottle. It was fizzy – very fizzy. It seemed almost magic seeing as I didn’t actually add any yeast to the mix- just the naturally occurring stuff from the air, plus whatever was still active in the cider vinegar.

You can actually see the fizzy drops spraying off the top of the flute in the picture above.

And it was good! A detectable aroma of the cider vinegar, but I didn’t think that was unpleasant at all. Even though I normally hate sparkling wine, fake sparkling wine and sparkling apple cider, I enjoyed it a lot. P had some with dinner and really enjoyed it too. I think it will be perfect at Christmas time, so I’ll make sure I make a full batch later in the year.

In summary – Sally Wise, you are a genius! I think I’ll be working my way through your marvelous book, very slowly.

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9 Responses to “Rhubarb Fizz”

  1. Louise August 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    This is SO much fun! I agree with you – what a perfect Christmas drink, and it’s so pretty!

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Next time I think I might reduce the vinegar – the brand I use (She’ll be Apples) is unpasturised and undiluted, so I think half the quantity might have done the trick.

  2. Liz August 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    I love it – I want to make it immediately! Waiting to drink it should be a good test of my patience.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Hehe. I only have one bottle left now and I’m trying to work out who it likely to enjoy it most. After that I’ll be waiting till my rhubarb recovers 😦

  3. Gavin Webber August 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    It looks very drinkable L! Well done. I must try fermenting some of the fruits that I have in abundance around here. x

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Yes, I think you could use the same approach for other fruit with similar results.

  4. cityhippyfarmgirl August 21, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Sally Wise is a genius isnt she. This looks wonderful.

  5. diggingupthedirt August 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Oh my goodness! I have wanted to make this for ages and my rhubarb has been misbehaving. It looks fantastic. Thanks for the tip about the vinegar as well.

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