Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb

Rhubarb. What can you do with it?

Crisp, crimson stalks hiding behind their toxic leaves

I don’t have a sweet tooth so crumble doesn’t appeal. I don’t really eat much yoghurt, so stew would be pointless. But it still seemed a waste to have stacks Rhubarb in the veggie patch going to no god use.

I had my discovery while stuck inside at Homer Hut due to bad weather. A storm in Fiordland, who would have thought? It wasn’t all bad though. My friend Holly cracked out her homemade rhubarb wine, and proved to me there is a very good use for rhubarb after all.

I can do that

With this recipe, all the brewing gear I could want (courtesy of my housemate) and ZERO experience, I decided to get stuck in.

As a total noob, it seemed crazy that the recipe called for no yeast. It turns out that all the yeast I could want is blowing around the kitchen and clinging to my rhubarb stalks. Of course, more experienced winemakers usually do add their own selected strain of yeast. This supposedly yields much more ‘predictable’ results that wild yeast seems to be but this venture was already looking unpredictable, so what the heck.

The second thing that seemed crazy was that no boiling, heating or other faffing around was necessary. The recipe basically says cut it all up, throw it in a vat and wait a few days –  then strain out the liquid out and wait a while longer. Sounds simple .

In fact, it was almost too simple. Because I had everything on the stove ready to go when I decided to read the recipe just one-more-time.

Phew. If I hadnt done that I would have pasteurised my mixture leaving all my precious yeasts completely dead. Thats useful if you want milk to last longer, but not so useful before fermentation, when I’m relying on these microbes to do the magical trick of turning water into wine (oh, I mean sugar into alcohol).

So, no mistakes made, here is my mixture at 16 degrees celcius.

My housemate Dave has all the gear

Fingers crossed. See you in a few days

Edit: Before you start, learn from the lessons I discovered in the process





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