Monday, June 20, 2011


This post is not about Veggie Tales but I have always wondered what a Rhubarbarian would look like since Veggie Tales really didn't add this lovely their show, Duke and the Great Pie War. Today, I discovered my very own real life Rhubarbarian! 
This thing was a monster! No, not the darling little man who really does dislike having his picture taken. This is the biggest stalk of rhubarb I have EVER seen!

A few years ago, I was at a potluck with friends and was blessed to discover Rhubarb Punch. It was the best punch I had ever had so I asked my friend for the recipe. She said that her sister had canned it and all she did was add a lemon-lime soda. I was impressed. I liked canning. I had no idea how much at that point but that's another post! I asked her to ask her sister for the recipe and waited for a couple years. I gave up. I love my friend and she's a busy lady!
I found a recipe in my favorite canning book and decided to go for it.

 The recipe called for 12 cups of rhubarb but I only had 10 so I added a few cups of strawberries to make up for it. According to the recipe, I added 4 cups of water and brought the fruit to a boil. Not-so-according to the recipe, I did not add lemon zest or orange zest. I didn't have any. The mixture simmered for a good ten minutes and then I put it in a strainer that had been lined with cheesecloth.

 THEN I remembered that I actually had the jelly strainer that the recipe called for. I moved the mushy fruit surrounded by cheesecloth into the strainer and made a lovely mess.
 Let it drain for two hours...

 and cleaned up all of the messes that I made in the kitchen in that time!
 Added 1 1/2 cups of sugar and bring to 190 degrees. I'll be honest. I totally guess-timated for this part. A full rolling boil happens at 212 degrees. I decided that a simmer was close enough. Then I turned off the heat and added 'the juice of one lemon' or, as I again guess-timated, one quarter cup of lemon juice.
 Did you know that you don't NEED to have an actual canner? For smaller batches of canning I prefer to use my "soap pan." It's just the right size for pints and for making my homemade laundry soap, hence the nickname. That green thing at the bottom is a doubled over cotton towel that is there to keep the jars from touching the metal.

"Jars WILL and DO crack or shatter when exposed directly to the metal that is touching the flame on a gas stove," says the rather loud and insistent voice of experience.
 I grabbed all the jars out of the water and worked quickly so they would still be piping hot and thereby NOT crack when I added the hot liquid and put them back in the near boiling pot.
Rings were in VERY VERY hot water but NOT boiling. They shouldn't be boiling hot according to my canning book.
A jar funnel and a heavy duty ladle are a must in a canning kitchen. Jars were filled to 1/4 inch from the top.
Center lids on jars and twist on rings until the ring is fingertip tight. You don't want them too tight or things won't seal as well as they should.

 Using jar tongs, I carefully lowered still hot jars into the just-under-boiling water and brought it to a rolling boil. A rolling boil is when you cannot stop the boil by stirring or removing the lid to the pot. They boiled for 10 minutes and I turn off heat. They stayed  in the pot for five minutes. This is some new canning technique that we're supposed to do so I did...
 Using my jar tongs again, I removed the jars from the pot and placed them on the counter on a towel that was folded in half for thickness.
 You might see bubbles on the top of the lid as the water evaporates or hear popping or hissing noises. It's perfectly normal. You might also notice that your jar has bubbling or, rather, boiling liquid in it. That's a good sign, it means you warmed everything up properly. I will leave the jars alone for a couple of hours at least. When they are room temperature, I'll take off the rings to use for the next canning session and put the jars in my ginormous pantry.

To use the punch, the recipe calls for mixing the juice with equal parts seltzer or ginger-ale but I am going to use one liter of lemon-lime soda to each pint of concentrate.

I did a bit of googling. Rhubarb IS a vegetable and has been sorely discriminated against by Big Idea Productions. I am NOT very happy with Bob and Larry at the moment. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Well...for all Bob and Larry have done for parents and kids everywhere, you should cut them a little slack, take them a jar of rhubarb juice concentrate and see if they can write a new script :)