I promise no talk about the weather except to say that it is grey in Vancouver at the moment – much like it is every year in early June – and instead of moping about it I have devised the perfect recipe for bottling sunshine. Inspired by this recipe, some so-so canning from last year, and a hailstorm on the weekend – I introduce to you:
12 cups chopped rhubarb (mine was flattened by hail necessitating a harvest)
5 cups of home-canned apricots plus their syrup (The apricots I put up last year were too soft to be used for anything but sauce)
6 cups of sugar, plus more to taste
- Put prepared rhubarb in a stainless steel pot and sprinkle a cup of sugar over. Leave for an hour or until the rhubarb starts releasing juice.
- Strain the apricots, reserving the liquid.
- Add the apricots to the pot and turn the heat on medium.
- While the rhubarb/apricot mixture is cooking down into a mush, prepare a colander with a cheesecloth or another clean straining cloth (I just use a thin cotton table covering that would otherwise be cut up for rags). Pour the reserved liquid from the apricots through the strainer and let drip.
- Once the rhubarb/apricot mixture is cooked into a mush, take it off the oven and let it cool a bit. Then dump that into the colander. Leave overnight to drip through.
- The next day, prepare your boiling water canner and sterilize your jars. At the same time, put the strained juice into your stainless steel pot and add five cups of sugar. Turn the heat onto medium until the sugar melts. Bring the mixture to a boil for one minute or so after that, and then turn down the heat again. The thicker you want the cordial mixture, the longer you cook it. In my case I only cooked it for about 10 minutes total.
- Pour into canning jars and process for 10 minutes. This recipe makes 2 1/2 quarts (five pint jars worth)
Also! Another recipe from yesterday involves fresh, local strawberries and basil – both of which showed up at Donald’s Market this week:
Strawberries and basil
2 cups sliced strawberries
5 large basil leaves sliced small
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Mix all ingredients together, let sit on the counter for an hour or more to macerate. Serve over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Amazing!
And finally, while we are invoking the sun here on the west coast, I direct you to the Ray Bradbury short story All Summer in a Day which encapsulates so much of what rainforest life is like on a deep psychic level. RIP Ray Bradbury – your stories have nourished our fantastical and darker impulses for all these decades and you will be missed.