This is a fairly simple and inexpensive recipe to make if you have are access to fresh raspberries and rhubarb. It's a sweet, tart syrup that tastes great in mixed drinks or on pancakes. With minor cooking alterations, this recipe can also be used to prepare juice or jelly.
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
1 gallon of fresh raspberries
3 medium stalks of fresh rhubarb
1 cup water
Approx. 3 cups white sugar (variable to taste)
2 large pots
half pint mason jars (at least 5)
tongs (even better if they're designed for canning, but they don't have to be)
Step 2: Preparing the Syrup
1. Add water, rhubarb, and raspberries to pot. On medium heat, alternate between mashing and stirring.
2. When the rhubarb breaks up easily (15-20 min.) remove from heat.
3. Cut 3-4 layers of cheesecloth to fit over an empty pot (leave at least 3 inches of slack all around). Pull it taught, tie it on, and start ladling the stew over the cheesecloth.
4. Let it drip and cool for at least 10 minutes. Carefully gather the cheesecloth from under the string, and tie the pulp into a sac. If you're patient enough to really let it cool, you can squeeze the excess juice with your hands. If its still too hot, use a masher but be careful not to break the cheesecloth.
5. When you've got as much juice as you can out, add the sugar and stir as you bring to a boil.
6. Let simmer on low. It's a matter of taste how long you want to reduce it. The longer you wait, the thicker the syrup will be (until it sets as a jelly). Reduce it down by a couple cups, and you should get a nice thick syrup that's still runny enough to pour.
*Keep in mind, you won't get to see the true consistency until it's set and refrigerated, so don't wait for it to thicken in the pot. Also, you want your jars ready to go when your syrup is still really hot, so start sanitizing them while it's still reducing.
**Suggestion: Save the pulp to make fruit leather instead of discarding it.
Step 3: Canning the Syrup
1. Fill a large pot with enough water to just cover your jars, add the rings (but make sure you don't put the lids in yet!), and bring water to a boil. Let it boil a few minutes, then turn it down to simmer.
2. Remove jars (one at a time) with tongs, and ladle in the syrup (remember to leave about a half inch of room for air pressure).
3. With tongs, dip the lid in the simmering water for about 30 seconds (just enough to heat the glue without melting it), then immediately put on. Rings can wait a bit. I screw mine on after all my lids are prepared.
4. When rings are on snug, put them back in the simmering water for 30 seconds or so. This step isn't always necessary, but a good precaution to make sure they all pressurize right.
You're finished! Enjoy it with whatever you like, give it away, or store it indefinitely.