It's a million degrees out there today and the weatherman promises us it will be hotter tomorrow with the humidex values hitting 37-40+ degrees. Of course, after the bitterly cold winter we had this hot weather is more than welcome. The only problem is we never got any warning. It was only 2 weeks ago I was hugging a heavy fleece jacket around my shivering body and complaining that June wasn't fit to be called a summer month. And then BANG, without any gradual warming, we go from 10 degrees to 33. (That's 50 degrees F. to 92 degrees F. for any Americans reading this.) There was no middle ground. The temperature on my back deck, with the sun reflecting off the white house, was 48 degrees by dinner (that's lunch for the rest of you) so going outside and sunning is not an option for my fair skin. I'd roast like a turkey. Ah, well, in a few days we may be looking for our fleece jackets again so I'll not complain.
But, even though I'll not complain about warm or hot weather, I still like to cool down in such humid conditions and foods like watermelon, popsicles and cold fruit salad are the order of the day for me. Don likes a little heavier fare so I'm glad we have a few leftover veggie burgers in the fridge. It was a little cooler yesterday (29-30 degrees--almost cold, ha, ha) and that's what we had for supper. Glad I
made extra so he can have something to keep him full. Now, as I was mulling over what I could sip or nibble on to keep cool I remembered I had frozen rhubarb lemonade concentrate in the freezer that I had made last year. Oh, joy, what a great way to cool down.
This works just as well with frozen rhubarb as with fresh so I used frozen as I still have a few bags of it in the freezer from last year. So if you have a good supply of rhubarb and you don't want to make another pie or bottle of jam this is a great way to preserve the taste of summer.
Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate
8 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
3 cups sugar (use less if you like a tarter drink)
3 tablespoons grated lemon rind, about 3 or 4 large lemons
1 ½ cups lemon juice, fresh squeezed if possible
In large saucepan, stir together water, rhubarb, sugar and lemon rind; bring to boil. I also throw in any scraps of lemon skin that still has the rind still intact. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb breaks up, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve, pressing out liquid. Stir the lemon juice into the syrup. Let cool. To serve, add 3-4 parts water to 1 part syrup; serve over ice. Garnish drinks with a fresh slice of lemon, if you wish.
For a refreshing sparkling drink use part or all ginger ale or soda water in place of the water.
The Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for no more than 2 or 3 weeks. It freezes well and is best frozen in 1 or 2 cup containers so it can be easily reconstituted during the cold winter months when one is longing for a reminder of the hot, lazy days of summer
Makes about 20 servings.
I used frozen rhubarb to make the the Rhubarb Lemonade Concentrate. Cook the rhubarb, sugar and lemon rind together. Rhubarb is mostly water so you don't need to add extra water to the mixture. When the fruit is cooked, remove from heat and strain through fine sieve, pressing out liquid. Stir lemon juice into the syrup. I think I'll use the leftover fruit pulp in a blueberry jam.
These containers hold 1 cup of Concentrate which I am freezing for the winter. How good this will taste during the long winter months.
To make a refreshing drink mix 1 part concentrate with 3 or 4 parts cold water, ginger ale or soda water. Serve over ice and make it fancy with a slice of lemon.
Cold and icy Rhubarb Lemonade.
A great way to keep cool on a hot summer day.