Rhubarb is a love it or hate it fruit (technically a vegetable). Many hate it because of the texture of cooked rhubarb, which can be fibrous or stringy if badly cooked – remember that horrible stewed rhubarb that you must have seen served somewhere, a pinky grey sludge in the dish ? If it is roasted gently in the oven with some ginger it can be lovely. But this is a recipe that takes all the great flavour from it and leaves the texture behind. This cordial keeps well in the fridge for around a week but if you add a teaspoon of citric acid at the end with the rosewater it will keep for around 3 more weeks.
Makes: around 300ml
150g granulated or caster sugar
10 large red rose petals or 20 small petals (pick them first thing in the morning and use before they lose their scent. Only chose young petals as the old ones are already losing their colour)
2 tbsp rose water (don’t use any more as it can make things taste soapy)
200 ml cold water
Put the rhubarb, rose petals and sugar in a saucepan and add the water, Bring to the boil fairly slowly so that the sugar dissolves, stir and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Let it cook gently for around 30 minutes until it is soft and pulpy (see above). Set a sieve wit ha muslin square in it over a jug. Pour in the mixture, a little at time and using the back of a ladle push the liquid through the sieve into the jug. Discard the leftovers in the sieve. Add the rosewater and pour into a sterilised bottle. Keep in the fridge until needed.
To sterilise the jars either put them through a hot cycle in the dishwasher or wash by hand and pop into the cold oven and heat up to around 100C fan/120C non fan)