|Cold Rhubarb Tea
By Charlie Burke
The Sanbornton Farmers’ Market (New Hampshire) published a cookbook several years ago that prompted several
visitors to the market to offer their favorite recipes. One of the best recipes we received was also the simplest --
Rhubarb Tea -- which points out, again, that with great fresh ingredients uncomplicated preparation is best. We
were told that this is a Shaker recipe from back in the nineteenth century which takes advantage of our abundant
We began making it to sell as a fund-raiser for our farmers’ market, and it became quite popular, sold both as the
original recipe and, in a nod to New England’s classic strawberry – rhubarb pie, with the addition of a pint of fresh
local strawberries. We add no spices or herbs, but I’m sure a few sprigs of mint would go well, as would a pinch of
cinnamon or ground clove.
Rhubarb freezes well for pies, and our stash of frozen rhubarb lets us enjoy this refreshing tea throughout the
summer. Now that rhubarb is at its peak, give this a try; this will likely become an easily prepared family favorite,
perfect for picnics and barbecues.
For approximately two quarts:
8 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups water
Juice and grated rind of one orange or lemon (avoid the white pith under the rind)
3/4 cup sugar
I pint fresh strawberries, mashed (optional)
Simmer rhubarb on the water until tender (20 – 25 minutes) Strain, pressing on rhubarb with a spatula to extract all
the juice. Stir in the lemon or orange juice and rind; mix in optional strawberries Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Cool and serve over ice.
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