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Video: The Benefits Of Growing An Undervalued Rhubarb Vegetable
2023 Author: Sebastian Paterson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:24
Rhubarb is a lifesaver
In the early 1970s, my family and I often went to Tallinn on a weekend to wander the narrow streets of the old town, eat delicious rolls with coffee in small cafes and buy the indispensable Old Tallinn liqueur. In the same city, I made a discovery for myself: rhubarb juice was sold there along with other juices familiar to us in large glass tubes.
I liked this juice so much that I drank only it when I came to this city again. By the way, nowhere, except in Estonia, have I seen such delicious sweet and sour juice on sale. Then I dreamed someday to grow rhubarb in my garden.
This dream came true when we managed to buy an old village house with a vegetable garden thirty kilometers from Tikhvin.
Now I already know that the agricultural technology of this culture is simple. Rhubarb must be planted in humus-rich soil in a sunny spot on the site, and fed with organic matter. All this my rhubarb got in our garden. The peduncles appearing in May must be removed to enhance the nutrition of the cuttings - the part of the plant from which we will receive juice.
From the former owners of the site we got wild bushes of black currant and non-varietal gooseberries. Over time, we replaced these bushes with better quality varietal material. But winters in these parts are harsh, and frosts in spring are much stronger than those in St. Petersburg. Therefore, we often had to stay without berries. It was then that rhubarb came to the rescue. It was always with thick juicy stalks, and we could use this vegetable all season.
Bearing in mind that rhubarb over the summer accumulates organic acids undesirable for the body in the petioles, only young petioles should be used. Thus, during the summer, you can get three harvests of this wonderful crop.
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And if we talk about using rhubarb, then he is simply a champion. Its young leaves, when the early cabbage has not yet ripened, are quite suitable for making stuffed cabbage. The taste is very pleasant, slightly sour.
Young petioles are a constant opportunity to cook compotes, jelly, a dessert made from finely chopped pieces in sugar, as well as absolutely amazing kvass. And rhubarb is also a filling for pancakes, pies and pies, everything is delicious, very tasty. We make jam from it, the classic one, when pieces of rhubarb in thick syrup, or boiled until mashed for a shortbread cake with a "yellow" top.
The juice that I have loved for a long time, squeezed out in a juicer, is already being prepared for the winter in sterile jars. Of course, more sugar is required compared to sweet berries, but the juice is very tasty and healthy.
And finally, wine. It turns out that you can make excellent wine from rhubarb - dessert, dry and semi-dry, depending on the sugar content during its production.
There is enough literature on making homemade wines, which indicates the ratio of the amount of berries, fruits, sugar and water. There is information about rhubarb that it makes a good table wine. I am ready to object to this and suggest a recipe for an excellent dessert wine. Of course, you need to tinker with it, the process takes about 5-6 months. But on the other hand, how pleasant it is to drink transparent golden wine that has passed all the stages of production. It is so unusual in taste that it can never be recognized if you treat your guests with this wine.
Here's my recipe for dessert rhubarb wine:
A ten-liter bottle requires: 4.5 liters of rhubarb juice, 4.5 liters of well or spring water, 1.5 kg of granulated sugar and a dozen unwashed raisins. For three days, the wine material is placed in bottles under cheesecloth, and then under a water seal for fermentation in a dark place, in the kitchen, for example.
At the end of fermentation, the wort is removed from the sediment, freed from the foam by siphoning into another clean container. After adding another 1.5 kg of granulated sugar dissolved in this wine material, everything is returned to the previously washed bottle with a water seal.
After two weeks of fermentation, sugar is again added to the wort, which is necessary for the formation of alcohol. At this stage, the type of future wine is formed. By adding another 1.5 kg of sugar, we get dessert wine; when adding 0.7-0.75 kg of sugar - semi-dry wine; if no more sugar is added, we get dry wine.
The wine material stands under the seal and is removed from the sediment every 3-4 weeks. Thus, it is clarified. At this time, carbon dioxide from fermentation is no longer present. This can be determined by the absence of bubbles released into the water from the water seal tube.
Now it's time to start bottling the wine into bottles with reliable corks, in which it should mature. This process takes at least a month and takes place in cool conditions. A reliable cork is a guarantee against the penetration of atmospheric air into the wine, which turns wine into vinegar as a result of oxidation. And wine is poured into the bottle almost to the very cork.
This is how after 5-6 months we get a very good wine. And, really, it is worth the time spent on it.
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And I also want to offer my readers my recipe for rhubarb kvass, which is very good in hot summer:
Cut young rhubarb stalks with skin into two-centimeter pieces and place in a three-liter jar so that they occupy a third of its volume. Then pour in a glass of granulated sugar, half a teaspoon of dry yeast or 15-20 g fresh. The remaining volume must be filled with boiled water.
Put the jar in a dark place and cover with gauze. After three days, the kvass is ready. Free the liquid from the foam and bottle. Put in the refrigerator. This kvass is good by itself, but it can be used for making okroshka as well.