Rhubarb and hibiscus picnic punch: sweet, tart, and pretty

Rhubarb and hibiscus picnic punch: sweet, tart, and pretty

BELLOWS FALLS — It's rhubarb season. It's strawberry season. While the first thing that might come to mind is a pie or a crisp, these spring crops also combine beautifully to make a refreshing beverage that is a little sweet, a little tart, and quite pretty.

This punch is perfect to bring along on a picnic or enjoy at a cookout or other gathering. It is quick to make, and you can store it in the refrigerator for a week, if it lasts that long.

Put a kettle of water on, and heat to just before the boiling:

¶1 quart water

In a heat-proof pitcher, add the water to:

¶4 hibiscus tea bags, or loose equivalent

Let this steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bags and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine:

¶4 cups rhubarb, about a pound, chopped

¶8 ounces strawberries, chopped

¶1 cup sugar

¶Pinch of salt

¶1 more quart of water

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain, cool, then add to the hibiscus tea with:

¶2 Tbsp. lemon juice

To serve, drink as is over ice, or add sparkling water or club soda. A spring of mint is nice here, too.

Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade: Just mix the punch with lemonade half and half, or whatever proportion you like.

Party Punch: To make a punch for a crowd, double the recipe and add a quart of orange juice. Mix with ginger ale, and float strawberry and lemon slices.

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