Cool off with ‘ruby juice’



Ruby juice is a delicious base for a cocktail. CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO
Ruby juice is a delicious base for a cocktail. CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Just like most Maine families, we’ve been entertaining visitors quite a bit this summer. In June, we hosted the Deer Isle Garden Club for a farm tour. Then in July, 60 folks from the Seattle area and assorted family and friends joined us for a three-day celebration of our daughter’s wedding.

The weather conditions were perfect: bright blue skies, sunny and hot with an offshore breeze that kept the mosquitoes away. After hikes to shore and lawn games, everyone was ready for a cold and refreshing beverage.

For a delicious and easy punch, I combined one quart rhubarb juice, or ruby juice, one quart apple juice and one quart frozen strawberries. This festive punch had a delicate pink color, and the taste was slightly tart and not too sweet. Everyone raved about the ruby juice, asking for more.

The recipe for Ruby Juice is from my archives, and was inspired by the late Russell Libby, former executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Russell was always seeking new ways for folks to enjoy the bounties of Maine products, and rhubarb is a plentiful crop.

Ruby juice is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I add it to my morning smoothie, and for a taste changer, mix ruby juice with equal parts of apple or cranberry juice.

For the cocktail hour, ruby juice makes a mean margarita. Combine 1½ oz. ruby juice with 1½ oz. tequila and one cup ice in a blender. Add a splash of lime juice and mix well. Serve in a salted glass with a lime wedge and enjoy the rest of summer!

Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected]

Ruby Juice

This refreshing beverage is a delicious base for a punch or cocktail. We enjoy it as a juice in the winter.

10 lbs. rhubarb, washed and chopped

Water to cover

Maple syrup, honey or sugar to taste (about 2 cups)

In a large, non-reactive pot (stainless steel is best), cover the rhubarb with water and fill the pot no more than 3 inches from the top.

Simmer over medium heat until the rhubarb has cooked completely and softened. The juice should be a nice pink color. Drain to yield the juice. The approximate volume will be about 2½ gallons.

Return the juice to the pot and the stovetop. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup, sugar or honey. Approximately 2 cups is the minimum. If desired, simmer the juice with cinnamon sticks or whole cloves.

Heat the juice to 190 degrees and cook for 5 minutes. Do not let boil.

Ladle the juice into sterilized quart jars. To make a shelf-stable product, process the quarts for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Serving size is ½ cup or 4 oz.

Nutritional analysis per serving (approximate, varies with sweetener): 35 calories, 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat, 3 mg. sodium, less than 1 gram fiber.

Yield: 9 – 10 quarts Ruby Juice

 

Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.

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