Rhubarb and star anise cordial
Makes about 3 litres | prep 10 mins | total time
- 2kg rhubarb stems, roughly chopped
- 2 large oranges
- 8-10 whole star anise
- 750g granulated sugar
- citric acid (optional)
- Put all the rhubarb into a large pan and add 1.5 litres of cold water (you don't want to cover it completely as this dilutes the flavour of the cordial). Using a potato peeler, take 4 strips of orange skin from each orange, add this to the pan with the juice from both oranges and the star anise.
- Bring the rhubarb up to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently until the rhubarb is soft (it may look like mush at this stage). Take off the heat and allow to cool for an hour.
- Pour the rhubarb and juice into a large jelly bag hanging over a large bowl (or through a sieve lined with a double layer of gauze or muslin) and allow the juice to drip through overnight.
- Now pour the collected juice into a pan and on a low heat add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- You can add 2 teaspoons of citric acid at this stage if you want to store this for several months – this is not necessary if the cordial is going to be used straight away. The citric acid does give the cordial a good tart kick, or you can add the juice of 3 lemons for a sharper flavour.
- Allow the cordial to cool. Pour into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge. Dilute to taste.
This is a recipe we make two or three times a week in the Garden and Cookery School at Perch Hill at this time of year. Even rhubarb haters seem to love it and it's a beautiful colour, a pale opalescent pink, particularly delicious diluted with sparkling water, with plenty of ice and a few leaves of fresh mint. A squeeze of lime is also a good addition.