Rhubarb Juice Recipe

This is one of those deceptively simple recipes, passed down through friends of friends, that everyone adores.

Rhubarb juice in a glass

Serious Eats / Carolyn Cope

Why It Works

  • This simple two-ingredient recipe makes a brisk and refreshing juice, with no added sugar.
  • Once strained and chilled, the juice has a mixture of tartness and sweetness that resembles homemade lemonade.

As a kid, rhubarb played a pivotal role in my life. It was a literal role, actually. One on the stage. If you're acting in a crowd scene, someone told me, and everyone mumbles, "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb," it sounds from the audience like there are lots of real conversations going on. This is a big deal to a 12-year-old in a school play.

What, did you think I was going to say that every summer I used to pick rhubarb with my grandmother from her backyard garden, and then she'd teach me how to navigate life while we baked pies in the steamy, rustic kitchen? Well I wasn't. And I didn't. And that's fine. Or at least I thought it was fine until I started a food blog five years ago and realized that without a steamy, rustic, rhubarb-infused past, I had no street cred whatsoever. And that regardless of how many times I'd said "rhubarb" in a school play, no one would ever trust me.

That's why, no joke, the first guest post I ever ran on my blog was about someone else's experiences picking rhubarb and making pies with her grandmother. It's also why I've gotten a little aggressively handsy with rhubarb in the ensuing years. Fake it 'til you make it, and by "it" I mean rhubarb pie.

Or rhubarb juice. This recipe is so simple (just rhubarb and water!) and so genuine and pure that it might just make up for all those years of lost childhood. Since rhubarb is quite tart, you may be surprised that there's no added sugar in this recipe. I was skeptical at first, too, but it really works. It's wildly international, too, having come to me in London via an Australian friend from her Canadian friends, who served it at a lazy weekend brunch a few weeks ago. Wildly international has got to count for something.

My friend couldn't stop talking about how good it was, and how deceptively simple. And I totally agree. Not, of course, that anyone would ever take my word for it.

May 2013

Recipe Facts

Cook: 25 mins
Active: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 25 mins
Serves: 10 servings
Makes: 10 cups

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (910g) rhubarb stalks (about 10 stalks), sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 quarts (1.9L) water

  • Sugar, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, combine rhubarb and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

  2. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher or spouted bowl, pressing on the solids in strainer to extract as much juice as possible.

  3. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. If the juice separates, leaving a yellowish sludge at the bottom, decant the clear pink liquid into a clean bottle or pitcher, leaving the sludge behind. Serve cold over ice, adding sugar to taste.

Special Equipment

5-quart pot, fine-mesh strainer

Notes

You can line the fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth to strain out the solids.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
22 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 11mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 229mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)