Monday, May 5, 2014
Rhubarb in Amana makes me think of restaurant, rhubarb custard pies and Piestengle, a crystal, clear white , dry rhubarb wine made from fermented juice of rhubarb stems made by local wineries. The first rhubarb plants here in Amana migrated from Mongolia to Europe to the United States with the Amana Colonists, who brought it from Ebenezer, NY. Rhubarb, with its large, curly-edged leaves and pink fruit, arrives early in the spring and is a long lived, hardy perennial that roots itself deeply in the ground. Deep enough to thrive in areas where the ground deep freezes like in Iowa. The wetter the spring, the juicer the stalks, the longer the stalks, the higher the sugar content- just right for pies and this dry wine. Each plant can render about 2 gallons of juice, 10 gallons of juice made about 50 gallons of wine, with 400 gallons of Piestengle made in two days at an old local winery. It took about nine months to a year to ferment and then ready to taste!