Meat Free Monday – Frozen Pink Rhubarb Margaritas

It’s meat free monday on the blog today and it’s also a bank holiday here in the UK so I’m using one of my favourite vegetables, rhubarb and serving up a delicious cocktail to keep us in the holiday mood. It’s now only a week before I have my smoothy maker back from storage and boy oh boy this is high up on the list of things to make in it. So here, homage to deliciously pink rhubarb.

rhubarbRhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a herbaceous perennial. There are several varieties that have been domesticated for culinary purposes (Rheum hybridum), where the beautiful green, to speckled pink to crimson red stalks are, of course, used. Although we tend to think of rhubarb as a fruit because it is most commonly used in puddings, it is, in fact, classed as a vegetable everywhere except the United States. This is because in 1947, a New York court decreed that it was to be viewed as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties, because this was as a fruit that it was commonly used. This pleased importers because duties for fruit were cheaper than those for vegetables!

Rhubarb grows the year round in warmer climates but in temperate climates the leaves and stalks above ground wither away and die back with the onset of freezing weather and returns when it warms up again. Rhubarb can be acquired year round thanks to ‘forcing’ it in greenhouses/hothouses which produces redder, sweeter stalks in mid-late Spring (April/May) in the Northern Hemisphere, October/November in the Southern. You can force your own rhubarb to some degree by placing an upturned bucket over it. In the United Kingdom, the first harvest of the year is done by candlelight in otherwise darkened forcing sheds. The area around Wakefield, Leeds and Morley in Yorkshire is known as the Rhubarb Triangle.Rhubarb simmering

The Chinese have used rhubarb for medicinal purposes for about 2700 years. It has been used as a strong laxative for at least 5,000 years and was used in European and Arabic prescriptions in the medieval era. It arrived in Europe in the 14th century via the Silk Route. It grew wild for centuries along the river Volga in Russia but was so expensive to import from Asia that it was a more expensive commodity than opium, cinnamon or saffron. Rhubarb was prized so highly at that time that it was mentioned in the same breath as diamonds, rubies, pearls, musk, silk and satin – just think, a vegetable that you can grow easily in the corner of your garden! It was actually only in the 17th century, when sugar became more affordable, that it was used to cook with, prior to that  the root was used to produce a rich brown dye.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500g diced rhubarb
  • 120ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 cupfuls ice
  • 150ml tequila

Method

Frozen Pink Rhubarb MargaritasTrim the rhubarb and dice it, then add it to a saucepan and pour in the water. Place a lid on the saucepan and cover once the mixture is at a simmer. Cook until the rhubarb begins to break down. This should take between 15-25 minutes. Once the rhubarb has released its juices, pass through a sieve and press as much of the liquid out of the remaining pulp as possible. Once you have the liquid, simply stir in the sugar and then place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. Ideally you should prepare to leave overnight so that the juice and sugar have time to get to know one another.
To make the Margaritas, pop your ice into the liquidiser or smoothie maker then add the tequila and rhubarb and sugar mixture. Blend until you have a frozen margarita and serve in chilled glasses with a salted rim, twist of lime, plus  juice, for greatest effect.

 
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17 Comments

  1. Oh dear lord, that looks delicious. I love rhubarb…and back in my drinking days, I REALLY loved tequila. I no longer drink alcohol, though, so finding a good substitute might be a wee bit difficult. But…I am going to try. ;P
    Angie Schaffer-von Scheffelheim recently posted..Everything Old Is New AgainMy Profile

  2. Rhubarb cocktail! I like it. I think I will be trying this out. Some fascinating history, too (history always draws me in!)

  3. I love discovering new things about food and interesting recipes. After my last tequila session many moons ago, I think I may leave it out (or maybe not):-)

    I am intrigued by the medicinal stuff and that it was a dye – fascinating!

  4. I’m not really fond of rhubarb, but this is my kind of meat-free happiness! 🙂

  5. For years my grandmother was on weight watchers and would make Rhubarb pie. If she had made the cocktail I’m sure my grandfather would have loved it!

  6. Anita-Clare, I have a very large bed of rhubarb in my garden (it’s not up yet, sadly) and I freeze large amounts of it every summer, because I just love it–in pies, sauces, breads. I’ve never thought about putting it in margaritas, though my sister and I were just talking about how delicious it would be in a smoothie, in small amounts. I’m going to share this recipe with my brother, who likes to make margaritas, and see if he’ll make me one . . . . thank you!!!
    Amy recently posted..Book Report: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverMy Profile

  7. Wow – that looks and sounds delightful… and, dare I say, refreshing! Thank you for the recipe!
    Suerae Stein recently posted..Fab Foto Friday – Look Into My Eye, Week 2My Profile

  8. This looks like something I might try this year. I always have more rhubarb that I need.
    Chef William recently posted..Pitillal Mexico is just called P T LMy Profile

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  10. Oh my, we made a vegetable into a fruit and we drive on the wrong side of the road, when will we start getting it right? I’ve never had a Rhubarb Margarita, but anything made with Tequila is o.k. in my book. I’ll need to try this before we leave the states.
    Chef William recently posted..Mexican RiceMy Profile

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