If you would like to try making the country wine you’ll first have to locate a supply of rhubarb, an old-fashioned fruit, really a vegetable, once common in the countryside in old gardens and farms. Through the month of June, you’ll find it in farmer’s markets. In the city, it’s available through July from green markets. Check this site.
- Read the author’s essay about her lunch with Miriam Rothschild.
If you have your own patch, you’re all set. Be sure to pull, rather than cut, stalks, and trim them at both ends. If aged for several seasons, this home-made wine tastes like a good sherry. Try it chilled or over crushed ice. The amounts provided here will make about one gallon of wine. For a drier wine, simply reduce the amount of sugar.
5 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 gallon boiling water
1 tablespoon wine or baking yeast
3 pounds sugar
1) Finely chop rhubarb and lemon and place in a 2-gallon crock or plastic bucket. Add boiling water and cover. Let stand for 3 days, stirring three times a day. Strain and reserve juice.
2) Dissolve yeast in a cup of warm water until it bubbles. Add sugar and yeast to the juice, stirring in well. Cover mixture and let stand in a warm place for about one month or until no bubbles appear on the surface.
3) Siphon wine into a 1-gallon glass jug, using wads of cotton batting for stoppers. When wine stops fermenting or stops bubbling, siphon it into 1-quart bottles and seal with caps or corks. Store in a cool, dark dry place. If sealed with corks, store bottles lying down.
Jo Ann Gardner lives in the Adirondacks where she and her husband maintain a small farm with extensive gardens. Her latest book is “Seeds of Transcendence: Understanding the Hebrew Bible Through Plants.” She can be reached via her website www.joanngardnerbooks.com