Getting my hands on rhubarb stalks feels like a spring rite of passage. Inspired by the likes of Heidi Swanson and Deb Perleman, I wanted to do something simple with my haul: Make a syrup to add to whatever I please. Drop a spoonful in beer, a cocktail, sparkling water, a milkshake...it'll really make anything *that* much better. —Samantha Weiss Hills
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the chopped rhubarb, cardamom pods, and sugar. Do not turn on the heat—stir together so that the rhubarb and cardamom pods are covered in sugar and let it sit for at least 45 minutes.
Add the water and simmer the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar dissolves, continue simmering for 20 minutes until the rhubarb starts to break down and look stringy.
Turn off the heat and strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl so that you no longer have any rhubarb or cardamom pods in it.
Add the lemon juice to a new saucepan, pour in the syrup, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. (If the syrup simmers too long, it will be quite weighty. So, keep this in mind if you are using it for drinks—the syrup will probably be thinner than you think it should be.) Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using. It will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about a week.