Impatiently I tug out immature leaves and add the stalks to oats porridge, muffins and puddings. Some of the farm children chew the sour stalks raw, dipping them in sugar to ease their bite. The zingy scent of Spring rhubarb sends happy thoughts up my nostrils into my soul.
A kind gift from Kerry, Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry, inspired me to try a new recipe for our Spring rhubarb: Rhubarb Schnapps. The giant leaves on my five emerging plants belied the size of the new stalks that were ready for picking. Undaunted, I just reduced the recipe.
In deference to copyright, I'll not share the exact details of the recipe, but rather the BASIC idea that can be adapted to any fruit liqueur, as the basic principle is the same. We have made cherry and apricot liqueur in the past using the same method.
FRESH FRUIT SCHNAPPS
Wash and chop your chosen fruit and weigh it. (We used rhubarb stalks)
Measure out sugar, roughly half of the fruit's weight.
Leave the fruit and sugar in a clean jar overnight to draw out the fruit juice.
Cover the juicy mixture with vodka or other strong spirit.
Keep the jar at room temperature and shake every day for about a month.
Strain the liquid into a sterilised bottle and discard the fruit.
Chill well and enjoy.
Liquid rhubarb in a glass.