Introduction: Rhubarb "POP"

Picture of Rhubarb "POP"

Rhubarb "POP" - is it akin to sparkling wine, or a sweet carbonated pop? Well, kind of both. This beverage has a low alcohol content (0.05 percent), and is quite sweet so it is more of a fizzy desert wine.

The beauty of this stuff is it can be ready in as little as 3 days, though commonly 2-3 weeks is best for fizz and a stronger flavour. Sure it's not ready in a couple hours, but good things come to those that wait. Think of it as slow cooking with fermentation as your form of heat. I'm not really after alcohol - I am wanting the bubbles provided by the wild yeasts to carbonate the beverage.


The alcohol content is about 0.05%, so this would be similar to a de-alcoholized wine - so safe for the kiddies, or that certain in-law who always has one too many! In theory, it can be fortified two ways: it can simply be allowed to sit longer and have the natural wild yeasts do their thing, or you can cheat and add some commercial yeast.

As I am not really a drinker, pop it is for me.

DISCLOSURE: This Instructable was actually started back in May, 2011. This may sound odd, but I usually write my Instructables before I even start them; its what I do. Kind of like one of those stories where some one builds and takes apart a motorcycle or a clock in their head a thousand times first, then the actual build goes off without a hitch as they have already made the mistakes in their head. If you look back through some of my old Instructables like the Coffee Making R2D2, or my Analog LED table, they were all built this way. The point of mentioning this is, it doesn't always work out like the above scenario. Mistakes do happen. Back in 2011, my first batch looked like slimy swamp water and had a similar smell. What went wrong? I'm not sure. I used plastic coke bottles which you are supposed to be able to use. Perhaps they weren't clean enough? Perhaps no wild yeast was present? Perhaps I brewed it too long? Suffice to say, that was my last effort at fermentation until 2016. So for me, reattempting a failed Instructable after 5 years is a huge step out of my comfort zone. But I just had to try it one more time!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Hardware

  • Large clean food grade bucket: I used a 18.9 liter water bottle - the kind you get for a office water cooler
  • Strainer
  • 18 sterilized Home Brew type beer bottles, or you can use empty plastic pop bottles (See "Disclosure" on the front page).
  • Measuring cups
  • Sharp knife and a cutting board.
  • Several packs of cheese cloth.


Foodware

  • 10 liters of water. *Must be chlorine free - So either buy it, or boil it off.
  • 4 lemons juiced, plus the zest - about 1 cup of juice.
  • 5 cups rhubarb - chopped 1/4, or about 4 lbs.
  • 3 cups white sugar.
  • 1 cups of cider vinegar.





Step 2: Harvest and Freeze

Picture of Harvest and Freeze

How you obtain your rhubarb is up to you. Hopefully you can pick your own, but if not, let social media be your friend! Come spring, most people have so much rhubarb that they can't give it away. Use your local Facebook buy and sell to score some free rhubarb, or at least you will find it for a much cheaper cost than the grocery store.

When harvesting, never take more then half the plant or you can stress it too much. When the stems are at least 1 inch wide at the base, gently wiggle/pull it from the base. It will come away cleanly.

Give the stalks a quick rinse in the sink and trim off the leaves if you have not already done this. They are toxic, so there must not be any leaves included in the mixture!

Slice into 1/8 slices - you could use a mandolin, food processor or just a nice sharp knife.

Bag and freeze for at least 24 hours. The freezing will help break down the cell walls in the rhubarb and more juices will be released. This will give you more flavour, and in theory, a deeper pink shade.

Step 3: Scrub-a-dub-dub

Picture of Scrub-a-dub-dub

While your rhubarb is freezing, take this time to scrub your bottles. I used glass bottles with compression fit stoppers with the brand name 'Ez Cap', also known as "Lightning Tops." You can use plain old 1 or 2 liter Coca Cola PET pop bottles. Back in 2011 I tried using these PET bottles and it didn't go too well. I'm not sure if I didn't clean them well enough, or they didn't seal properly, but either way, the resulting brew was goo. So my advice would be to take your time to clean them well, to rinse thoroughly and then, for good measure rinse again and allow to dry.

Note per the EZ Cap bottles: I found mine via a Facebook buy and sell as I live in the middle of nowhere. You can occasionally find a small batch brewery that uses these bottles as well, and you may be able to obtain them there.

Step 4: Measure Twice, Combine Once... & Shake, Shake, Shake

Picture of Measure Twice, Combine Once... & Shake, Shake, Shake

This part is rather simple! Add everything on the Foodware list and stir. Simple as that!

And just so you don't have to go back to a previous step, here are those ingredients again:

  • 10 liters of water- must be chlorine free. So either buy it, or boil it off.
  • 4 lemons juiced, plus the zest - about 1 cup of juice.
  • 5 cups rhubarb - chopped 1/4, or about 4 lbs - Defrosted!
  • 1 cup of cider vinegar.
  • 3 cups white sugar.

Note: If you used a water jug like I did, it can be quite an ordeal getting all the rhubarb in, so be prepare from some deep breathing to deal with the possible resulting frustration. I have heard that others have used a large Tupperware tote in order to avoid this arduous task.

Step 5: Let It Rest

Picture of Let It Rest

Find a spot where it can just sit; not too hot, not cold. Mine sat in my kitchen, under my stereo. After 2 days you're done. If you go 3 days, you run the chance of it spoiling. Perhaps back in 2011 this is what happened.

Note the colour - as it sat, it became darker.

Step 6: Strain, Strain, Strain

Picture of Strain, Strain, Strain
  1. Pour mixture through a large strainer to remove the big chunks of rhubarb. *Set those aside for the Crumble recipe that is included at the end of this Instructable.*
  2. Next, run it through a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
  3. Do it again, and again and again.....
  4. In total, I strained it six separate times. Each subsequent time that I re-strained the mixture, I added an additional layer of fresh cheese cloth to ensure a clear and delicious final product.

No one likes chunky "POP" after all.

Step 7: Bottle & Then Forget About It...

Picture of Bottle & Then Forget About It...

Bottling the filtered brew is simple with the EZ cap bottles: simply pour in the mixture and put on the lid. Make sure to leave the neck mostly empty, and....done!

Forgetting about it is another story. After 3 days we popped open our first bottle. It was super syrupy, and only a tiny bit fizzy, but the flavor was soooo good - a promise of things to come. It tasted similar to strawberries at first, followed by a lemon tang and followed up with the peculiar flavor of rhubarb.

The rest of the bottles sat in a large tote in my kitchen. Over the next 2 weeks, we sampled a bottle every 3 days. Once we reached the 2 weeks mark, I put the rest of the bottles in the fridge. This stops the fermentation process and locks in the flavor and the fizz!

Safety Note: The bottles I used are tough. They are made to contain pressurized fermented beverages. Regular wine bottle cannot be used, as they will explode. Even with my tough bottles, I laid a heavy towel over the bottles in the tote. Perhaps find a safer spot then I did...

Step 8: Drink!

Picture of Drink!

This is such a simple recipe! The 2-3 weeks is really for the bubbles to develop, and for the freshest flavor to be attained. Longer than that, and the pressure could build up to such a level that the bottles could explode! On the other hand, it may be interesting to keep a couple bottles aside to see if they develop a higher alcohol content. Just make sure to store it somewhere safe though. When you pop the bottle, it will make a satisfying "POP" sound, and then the scent of the rhubarb will hit you as it's quite fragrant. As you fill your glass, it will foam, but only a little. This "POP" may be "soda-ish" but it's still made with wild yeast which yields a delicate bubble. This beverage is best served in a classic sparkling wine glass as it yields the longest lasting bubbles - the top of the glass curving inwards focuses the scent, and, additionally, preserves the carbonation longer. The taste of lemon clings to the sides of your tongue, while your brain is tricked into thinking your smelling baked rhubarb pie - it's incredible! Near the end of the evening, gone were the delicate glasses, and out came the hardy mason jars for it to be consumed while relaxing in the very location where this all started - my garden. Time to make another batch...

Step 9: Bonus Step - Rhubarb Crumble With the Left Over Fermented Rhubarb!

Picture of Bonus Step - Rhubarb Crumble With the Left Over Fermented Rhubarb!

Did you save the rhubarb after you strained it? Yes? Good!

  1. Get a baking dish, (a 9 inch square tin or similar vessel will work), and fill it roughly 2 inches deep with your left over rhubarb mash.
  2. In another bowl combine:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
    • 1/2 cup of white sugar
    • 1/2 cup of brown sugar (packed)
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1/2 Teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
    • 1 cup of butter or margarine
  3. Mash it about with your clean hands until crumbly. Yes, you can use a spoon, but your hands work just fine.
  4. Spread the crumble on top of the rhubarb and dot with butter or margarine.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm over scoops of ice cream. Enjoy!

Step 10:

Comments

smartrem (author)2016-09-06

Hi, I really like your instuctable and I voted for you. I'll have a crop very soon and I might try your recipe. The only concern I have is about the skin of the rhubarb. DO you keep it. Skin from raw rhubarb has high levels of oxalic acid. This can cause kidney stones and it is especially bad for kids. I recommand you peel the skin of you rhubarb before freezing it. Thanks for your very clear 'ible, I'll let you know how I go.

iminthebathroom (author)smartrem2016-09-06

Interesting, I thought it was only present in the leaves. I have been snacking as other children do on the stems unpeeled forever. I will start peeling now though. Hope your rhubarb turns out. The only caveat to this being if your peeling, the rhubarb, you may be loosing the "wild" yeast deposits. If no carbonation occurs this could be the case. All will not be lost though, you can either make a ginger bug, this can be found on instructables and add it. Or, cheat and add about 1/8th of a teaspoon of champagne yeast for every 2 liters of liquid. Either way, refrigerate the juice until you are ready.

smartrem (author)iminthebathroom2016-09-06

I was doing the same until I had kids and read about food processing.

I didn't thing of the yeast, I thought I'd loose the color. Thanks for the tip about the quantity of yeast.

iminthebathroom (author)2016-08-10

Wow, Grand prize! Thank you Intructables and Klean Kanteen for the awesome prizes!

if i dont have cider vinegar, what can i replace it with ?

what is it for ?

thx

It's for tartness, other people have used white wine vinegar while others have upped the lemon juice and ditched it all together. I just made a batch using blueberries "no rhubarb" and only lemon juice. Turned out great.

I used wine vinegar : turned out great

Awesome, this recipe is popular in Australia for some reason and they use all sorts of vinegars.

lonelyBlobby (author)2016-08-15

if i dont have cider vinegar, what can i replace it with ?

what is it for ?

kingwolf44 (author)2016-08-10

Congratulations on winning! Your instructable is great! Thanks for sharing :)

Thank you! I have been looking at ordering ingredients already to make your awesome Rustic Root Beer!

kaj.paget (author)2016-08-10

Horray for your brew. I will try it. You have made me not want to kill my rubarb because I used to think it was useless. I am also from northern BC. But I have moved to sunny Okanagan. Thank goodness cold is hard for me.

Thank you, oh the sunny warm Okanagan!

Jonny Homebrew (author)2016-06-26

I like the instructable, I am going to give it a shot :D I have pleanty of frozen Rhubarb, my plants grow like crazy :D

davhar (author)2016-06-12

For safety reason, you might want to deliberately kill the remaining active yeast when the fermentation has reached your target. Adding a small dose of metasodium bi-sulfate (from the wine maker shops) will stop the fermentation. The sugar substitute Xylitol also kills many types of yeasts. I had a batch of naturally fermented root beer blow up in my basement. There were glass fragments every where. Thankfully no one was present at the time of the explosion.

iminthebathroom (author)davhar2016-06-13

Yikes! I wonder if that would kill off the carbonation though. I have heard of beers exploding like that, did you pressure rated bottles? I, along with other "googles" were under the impression that refrigerating the beverages halted the fermentation process and decreased a pressure build up. I will have to look into this further.

no it will only slow it down. The only way to stop the yeast is to pasteurize with heat (in a water bath like canning) or to use a campden tablet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campden_tablet

DianneC17 (author)2016-06-14

Champaigne was originally from a specific region in France. It has nothing to do with what the wine was made from. It simply is a sparkling wine.

TylerA48 (author)2016-06-14

Ok... so I got 'er done... now what?!?

I'm a guy from Northern BC, and have No clue on 'food prep'. I got the 'barb, cut 'em up, and Froze the bag. Zested with a Peeler for Spuds. Skinned the Lemons. Added the rest into a Cooler. And just poured my Two pots of water onto the 'experiment'!

Don't know why you said 5 cups of defrosted 'barb, but I guess they got defrosted when I poured the Boiling Water on 'em!

What's with the '2 day' period? What does that do? What will happen if I leave it for longer?...

I guess I'll find out.?.2

iminthebathroom (author)TylerA482016-06-14

Funny, I am from northern BC as well. The 2 days is to allow for the lacto-fermentation to occur. This is where naturally occurring bacteria/yeasts will consume the added sugars and convert them to lactic acid, which in turn produces co2 as a byproduct giving us our carbonation. Some Web sites recommend 3 days, others 2 days. Past the 3 days and you run the risk of your rhubarb mash going sour, which is bad. YouTube is a great resource for more information, if one were to Google "rhubarb champagne" you will get several pages of similar recipes and some great videos. Including an awesome instructable on Honey & Strawberry Rhubarb fermented soda. Hope this helps, as this is what instructables is all about.

petergrub (author)2016-06-13

I hope you tried his wine idea, mine is fermenting nicely!

Awesome.

petergrub (author)2016-06-12

A message for you Valgoet, please try hard not to judge others by your ability to write and spell. Some people are highly creative and intelligent in other ways that you may not be. It is rude and presumptuous of you. Did you enjoy the content? If you did at least mention that. Just barging in and shooting off with what is wrong with something will NEVER help, only hurt. Some people find writing and spelling really hard (not saying this person does) but are world changers! Look up famous Dyslexics and see what I am talking about. These examples are only the scientific community! ....Notice Einstein and Edison are on this list! and the Wright Brothers Wow! some credibility there would you not say? Please I urge you to rethink your assumptions regarding lack of correct spelling ability and the ability to present engaging and intelligent ideas. Best wishes Christine

  • Henry Ford
  • The Wright Brothers
  • Michael Faraday, electromagnets
  • Alexander Graham Bell, telephone
  • Carol Greider, Molecular Biologist
  • John Robert Skoyles, brain researcher
  • Ann Bancroft, explorer
  • Pierre Curie, Physicist
  • Harvey Cushing, Surgeon
  • Sir Isaac Newton, Scientist
  • Thomas Edison, light bulb
  • Albert Einstein, inventor
  • Fred Epstein, Neurosurgeon
  • Galileo Galilei, scientist
  • Willem Hollenbach, inventor
  • John R. Horner, Paleontologist
  • Archer Martin, Chemist
  • Louis Pasteur, Microbiologist
  • Helen B. Taussig, Cardiologist
  • Werner Von Braun, rockets
  • Eli Whitney, cotton gin
tnordström (author)petergrub2016-06-13

While I agree that you should cut people some slack regarding spelling in most cases. But the thing is that people with dyslexia, or people like me where english is a second language, using incorrect grammar and spelling will make it so much more difficult to read the text. Just swapping their and there could make me stop and re read the sentence multiple times, or read the sentence out loud, before I understand what they're trying to say.

valgoet (author)tnordström2016-06-13

Good point. There are, after all, tools in any word processing program that will check your grammar and spelling for you. They're not perfect, but they do work.

iminthebathroom (author)2016-06-13

Dear valgoet, thank you so much for your constructive criticism. Yes, I have always had issues with language, specifically there versus their as my wife who is a English major can point out. More importantly, If you can move past the verbiage, did you actually like the instructable? And to Renauld and petergrub, thank you for coming to my defense, but valgoet is just trying to educate me. Technically he didn't say anything offensive to Instructables "be nice" policy. And yes, I am mildly dyslexic though I do not think that would alter my perception of there versus their. Only having a 1-2 hours of sleep every night, that messes you up a little :) Children do not always respect the "be nice " policy. And yes valgoet, I did a couple quick edits, though I am sure more mistakes will be found, as it is only 2:30 in the morning...

valgoet (author)iminthebathroom2016-06-13

I really did intend it as constructive. Thanks for being open to it. Much as grammar seems frivolous, it really does affect the perception of your work.

And yes, I did enjoy your instructable, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with my comment.

I think you are a very funny writer, and I enjoyed your chatty, jokey way of writing My son is severely dyslexic and it breaks my heart to know that he will go forth into the world having to put up with the cross the t's and dot the i's kind of judgemental person. Sigh.....My son is an awesome drawer, kind and loving and accepting of others. Anyhoo that aside, i am trying your idea. I love these instructables and I thank you for posting. Best wishes Christine

Renauld (author)2016-06-12

That is exactly the kind of comment which (or "that") make me unconfortable to wdrite an instructable !

petergrub (author)Renauld2016-06-13

I am with you Renauld! imagine if singing or drawing made you so happy, but you didn't try because you were so worried what the great singers and drawers would say about you if you did! Sad really, so you go for it and don't worry about those unkind people who have nothing to offer except criticism because they are so perfect!

iminthebathroom (author)Renauld2016-06-13

It's all good, live and learn.

valgoet (author)Renauld2016-06-13

I really wonder why this website doesn't offer any editing services. Obviously, no one expects every clever person to be a great writer, but I don't think it's unreasonable for me, as a reader, to expect clear, concise, and grammatical material to read. If the writer can't supply it, then the website should.

amtrudell (author)2016-06-07

Cheese cloth is so porous! When I make stuff like this I usually line a fine mesh strainer with 2 layers of no-see-um nylon mesh (from an old tent -- just launder well before you use it). The mesh is strong enough that you can squeeze the liquid out! Two or three thickness of nylon curtain also works well. A plus: wash, dry, and reuse! No more buying of cheese cloth!

That would work great. In the past I've used an old pillow case as well. Normally the local grocery carries a nylon wine strainer mesh but we're out, so cheese cloth works provided you use many layers. Ah well, next batch.

I wonder if pantyhose would work to strain as well as cheesecloth? My Mom and I use them (brand new ones of course ;D ) when making fruit jellies and they work great for straining the boiled down fruit mash, strong enough to squeeze and twist to get every last drop of liquid out of the mash without tearing. You can double- and triple-up the pantyhose to increase the fine straining. It would be cheaper than cheesecloth when you can buy cheap pantyhose from the dollar store.

I bet it would, good idea. Though not used... :)

tleneel (author)2016-06-12

Hello, could you please remove the "Champagne" appellation, you are not allowed to use it as it refers to sparkling wine made in France in the region of Champagne.

no_one13 (author)tleneel2016-06-13

No one cares. We know what it means, and she isn't selling it, so does not matter. In the US we often call all sparkly wines champagne.

CreatedByVika8 (author)2016-06-12

You made a great Instructable! Thanks for your recipe! Sounds interesting!

Renauld (author)2016-06-12

Where did you get the information that Champagne (trade mark) started with rhubarbe ?

This method can be applied with any fruit. I use it myself to make "wine" of wild berries and then distille it to make alcool and liquor (= alcool + sugar).

I remenber when I was a kid in Kaboul, street sellesr offering as a refreshment dry raisin macerated in water. They didn't know that after a few days the mixture exposed to the heat of summer was producing alcool. Customer were getting drunk!

petergrub (author)2016-06-12

Yum can't wait to try it!

petergrub (author)2016-06-12

Yum can't wait to try it!

petergrub (author)2016-06-12

Oh boy not another one? MichaelH66 stop it! just enjoy the content!!.......sigh.

thegreat58 (author)2016-06-12

Rhubarb is also excellent for removing plaque from arteries.

thegreat58 (author)2016-06-12

Just use a trap on the fermentation jug, it lets in nothing and lets out the gas, natural occurring yeast does not seem to be present in any amounts that will work in some areas, but I imagine a cup of whey would also kick of the fermentation process, but I'd use a tablespoon of yeast just to be safe.

ruthy nov (author)2016-06-12

Hi everyone!

I like making alcoholic beverages from any kind of fruit - and vegetables. It is easy and tasty! B u t - you should keep the bottles only half closed until the fermentation stops, to prevent explosion. Just cover the bottle and do not screw. Let the excesive gas get out. At the end of the process it will have 15% alcohol. You can add strait alcohol (vodka, any kind) to stop fermentation and increase percentage. Cheers!

Myinstructables1 (author)2016-06-12

One last comment to valgoet. Not EVERYONE is an English Major!! If the way people write offends you, than DO NOT READ!!! I did not find the grammar errors caused any issues with the credibility of the article.

Myinstructables1 (author)2016-06-12

Years ago we made home brew, we always stored the carboy (large glass jug) on the landing going to our basement which is cooler then the main part of the house and also dark. Would that work for this? Also, while I'd love to try this, I'm nervous about the explosion part of storing the finished product. Would they be okay in a basement and not refrigerated?? Actually I should have someone else make this and just give me some LOL

RoBanJo (author)2016-06-12

One can use the dishwasher to sanitize the bottles. A home brewer friend does so.

Pandapants200 (author)2016-06-12

more uses for rhubarb are always amazing!

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