We whipped up this syrup while testing a recipe for the most magnificent rye and rose cake. It called for rose petals to be ground in a mortar and pestle with sugar until the rose petals turned to pink powder and their oils and essences were absorbed by the grains of sugar. We had some rose sugar left over from the cake recipe, and the first stalks of rhubarb from the demonstration garden were shining outside…it was not much of a stretch to put them together.
While you wait for the cake to come out, please amuse yourself with this brilliant syrup in the meantime. That color! So brilliantly magenta, just what you might imagine would happen if you were to cross roses and rhubarb…but more, somehow.
Spike it with gin over ice, splash it into sparkling water, or use it to flavor water kefir, as we have here.
Makes about 1 cup
Slice the rhubarb into small pieces.
Place the rhubarb into a small saucepan with water to cover.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes. (If you intend to use the rhubarb for another recipe, cook it for the time specified in the recipe, or for just 5 minutes. Boiling the rhubarb for 10 minutes gets more rhubarb flavor into the water but leaves the rhubarb pretty mushy.)
Reserve the water, which should have turned a deep pink already. Remove the rhubarb from the pot. Use the rhubarb, sweetened, for pie, cake, ice cream or yogurt topping, or other delicious creations.
Place the rose petals in a large mortar and pestle.
Add half the sugar and grind the petals into the sugar until the mixture is uniformly pink and powdery. You can skip the mortar and pestling, if you are short on wrist or time, but the rose flavor is more intense when the petals are broken down by the grinding.
Add the sugar and the rose sugar to the rhubarb water in the saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat; simmer gently until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.
Strain the syrup through a coffee filter to remove particles of rose petals, if desired. For a more casual strain,use a small metal strainer; a bit of sediment will settle out to the bottom of the bottle.
Using a narrow bottle funnel, funnel the syrup into bottles for storage. Here, we use the .25 liter clamp top.
Store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for several weeks.
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