Recipe: Bottled rhubarb in elderflower syrup
It's getting towards the end of the rhubarb season, so it must be time to save some for later in the year.
Our rhubarb plants definitely need their recovery time after having been harvested pretty hard, but they just had a few more stalks we could take...
We usually use the water bath technique for bottling as it's really easy to see when your jars are boiling (and therefore bug-free, ready for sealing and storing). But that technique does mean boiling a big pan full of water, so it's quite energy intensive.
This year, we're experimenting with oven bottling, as it's a lower energy technique- and also, more jars fit in the oven than in a pan. We've been using the recommendations from the Allotment Garden website, but modifying the timings to use smaller jars, since these are great for emptying into a fruit salad, onto yoghurt or ice cream as an instant pudding.
Bigger jars are great for turning into quick crumbles- or for savoury dishes, for turning into pretty much anything. But at that point, using frozen fruit or veg might be as easy.
Anyway, this recipe makes a lovely treat later in the year when elderflower and rhubarb are both long gone from the garden-- and is really quick and easy to do in comparison to making jam or similar. Though it does take longer than just freezing the rhubarb!
Rhubarb (however much you have spare)
Elderflower syrup to cover the rhubarb- you can use any sugar syrup you like- including a couple of spoons of golden syrup and a bit of water.
You will also need
Sterile jam jars and lids (post coming on this- but in the meantime this is one method to sterilise jars)
A sharp knife and chopping board
A baking tray to put the jars on in case they spill over
A wooden spoon (optional) for packing the jars
A thermometer (optional) for checking the temperature of the jars
Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and pack tightly into the jars, pushing down with your fingers or a wooden spoon handle
Pour over syrup to almost cover the rhubarb
Put into the oven, and turn the oven on to 120 degrees C.
Leave for half an hour to 40 mins, until the jars are boiling (you may want to check the temperature with a thermometer at this point- or just look at them- if the jars are very hot, that's good!
Switch the oven off and screw the lids onto the jars, leaving them in the oven to cool overnight if possible.
Check the seals on the jars- the tamper tops should be popped down or the lids on clamp top jars should not lift off if the clamps are undone.
Refrigerate any unsealed jars and eat within a week or so.
Store sealed jars in a cool dark place and eat within 6-12 months.
If any jars are pressurised when you open them, throw the contents away- it has gone off!
As mentioned above, bottled fruit makes a fantastic instant pudding- or pour onto breakfast cereals for a summery taste in winter.