I love my yard this time of year. It’s one of the main reasons my husband and I bought this house – even though we’re in the middle of town, in a residential area, we have a super private yard, front and back. One side is lined with cedar hedges, the other by raspberry bushes and a couple maple trees, and the front by giant green bushes (the name of which escapes me). Throughout the yard are lilac bushes, apple trees, a spruce tree, a pine tree, ivy and a whole lot of other smaller plants and bushes. It really is a private, spectacular garden.
Every Spring, my garden explodes with rhubarb, and it gets bigger every year. I’ve made the pies, the rhubarb crisp and have given a lot of the stalks away, and I still always seem to end up with a freezer full of chopped rhubarb. It’s time to be more creative.
I came up with a rhubarb tea drink, that can be drank hot or iced, and with a couple quick changes, even makes a great mojito, for those lazy Saturday afternoons in the back yard.
Rhubarb iced tea (or mojito)
(Makes about 4 short or 2 tall iced tea bevvies.)
Cut enough rhubarb stalks to make 2 c. chopped rhubarb. Clean and chop, and place the fruit in a pot with:
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 c. water
- The zest and juice of half a lemon or orange
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Allow this mixture to come to a boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes. Strain it and put the lovely pink juice in the fridge to cool down. (Or if you want it as hot tea, add some mint leaves and drink now! A bit of extra hot water can be added if it’s too sweet.)
Grab your fun summery glasses, and add to each and muddle together:
- A few mint leaves
- Lime zest and juice
- A sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
Fill the glasses halfway with the rhubarb juice. For the non-alcoholic version, fill the rest with ginger ale or sparkling water (mmm bubbles!), add ice and a sprig of mint for garnish and serve (pictured below). For the cocktail version, add an oz. of white rum, fill the rest of the glass with club soda, add ice and a sprig of mint and enjoy!
The pain started in my thumb and then spread to my palm and the outer edge of my hand. Throb, throb, throb. Pretty soon my whole hand was aching. My first bee sting of the year. And welcome to Spring.
It seems like an early Spring this year – I don’t remember working on my garden until May Long most years, but I’m definitely not complaining.
With my master’s degree work being thisclose to finished, I’ve been trying to think about how I want to spend my new free time, a combination of relaxation and productivity. It’s hard to think what I did with my time before I started my degree – I imagine all I could have accomplished, and then I remember all the TV I used to watch. Spending extra time on my garden is pretty high on my list, and lucky for me, it sits in both the relaxing and the productive columns!
For the first time, I’m starting some seeds in peat and in the house before planting them in the ground. Still not trusting the temperature won’t dip a lot overnight. The muffin tins contain dill, chives, zucchini and cucumbers. For whatever reason, I’ve always had a hard time growing chives — and yes I know they’re supposed to be one of the easiest to grow and then one of the most difficult to get rid of. If you have tips, please let me know!
As is usual, the rhubarb is already exploding, without any effort on my part. I cleaned it up nonetheless, along with the little strawberry patch behind it. Here’s to strawberry rhubarb pie and rhubarb mojitos in the summer!