Cooking · Food & Drink · Kitchen garden · Recipe · Rhubarb

Rhubarb syrup recipe…

Rhubarb – it’s one of those crops that always seems to thrive, regardless of what you do to it.

It is also one of the few that is now truly seasonal.

As soon as the first bright pink stems of forced rhubarb start to push their cloches off, I vow to keep on top of the crop and use every stalk – it never happens, I simply can’t keep up with the profusion of produce.

This year’s rhubarb was all exposed to an accidental forcing as I tried to protect it from the sharp frosts that the new year brought with it (you’re not meant to force rhubarb crowns across successive years so I tend to rotate it).

Every crown was covered with a huge upturned plant pot and very soon these covers were lifting off the ground as if by magic, due to the force of the growing stalks.

As soon as this happens every year, I guzzle up the forced vegetable, (yes, rhubarb is technically a vegetable) it’s so sweet and delicate – I stew it for breakfast toppings, condense it in syrups, churn it into chutneys to accompany meat, bake it into cakes and use it to decoratively top tarts.

As the cloches are lifted and May hits, the plants grow visibly by the day and pretty soon all six crowns here seem out of control.

The stems become greener and less sweet as they are exposed to the weather

Every year the rhubarb is comparable to courgettes due to the glut of produce the plants produce at this point.

I do my best to offer it to friends and family and resign myself to the fact that any big stalks that end up on the compost heap are also contributing to the future of the garden.

I often get to the point where I’m rhubarb-ed out. Similarly with courgettes, but only because I stick with the same recipes and struggle to find new ways to use it.

(Last year I solved the courgette problem – more on that later in the season).

As I harvested the last of the this year’s forced rhubarb – I kept it going for an unseasonably long time by harvesting each crown fully and re-covering it – I turned to making large batches of rhubarb syrup for delicious homemade cordial.

It’s so very simple and uses masses of rhubarb in each concoction, it’s also utterly delicious.

If you don’t already grow rhubarb, I urge you to give it a go.

You’ll be richly rewarded with succulent, juicy and enormously tasty crops which are very versatile if you’re willing to experiment…

Rhubarb syrup

...use to make a cordial, add to Prosecco or drizzle on cakes and ice cream

Course Drinks
Keyword Rhubarb


  • 250 g sugar
  • 1 lemon 2 broad strips of zest and juice of the whole lemon
  • 600 g rhubarb


  1. Add the sugar and 300ml of water to a large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves

  2. Add the lemon juice, strips of zest and rhubarb

  3. Cook over a low heat until the rhubarb is soft and falling apart

  4. Allow to cool a little and then strain the contents of the saucepan through a sieve lined with a square of muslin or cloth

  5. Press the rhubarb thoroughly to extract as much juice from it as possible

  6. Pour the strained juice into a sterilised bottle and keep in the fridge

  7. Enjoy with water as a cordial, use to flavour Prosecco or as a drizzle on cakes and ice cream






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