The Heart of New England
Cold Rhubarb Tea
By Charlie Burke

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The Sanbornton Farmers’ Market (New Hampshire) published a cookbook
several years ago which 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
spring rhubarb
.

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.

About the author: Charlie Burke, an organic farmer and avid cook, is the vice president
of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the
NH Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers'
Market.  Along with his wife, Joanne, he grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries
at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Rhubarb Tea...Perfect for Summer!  Click here for more recipes...
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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