Rhubarb Chutney

Strangely enough, we go through a lot of chutney in our house. It’s kind of a weird thing for a 2 year old to like, but Miles has some kind of weird tastes (Plain chickpeas from a can anyone? Would anyone else like to eat this lime straight up?), so perhaps it’s not a huge surprise. 

So far Miles has auditioned two kinds of chutney: Nanny-chutney (cranberry-pear) and Namma-chutney (plum), as made by the eponymous relatives. However, we just ran out of the last batch of Nanny-chutney, and rather than request another batch, I decided to make my own.

I’ve collected a fair number of chutney recipes over the years, but I haven’t actually made many batches. I was somewhat scarred off by a batch of apricot chutney I made eons ago that was almost inedible due to the strong vinegar flavour. It was quite a lot of work for not a great result, so since then I’ve stuck to making jam. However, you do what you must for your kids, and my kid needed chutney, so I started sifting through recipes again.

At the same time, I realized that it was spring, and spring means rhubarb! I started coveting some from my mum’s garden, until I realized that my freezer was still rather full of last year’s rhubarb… oops! I decided that I could solve two problems at once by making rhubarb chutney!

Back to the internet I went, and was somewhat stunned by the staggering number of rhubarb chutney recipes.  Sugar quantities varied greatly, from almost 1:1 (whoa!) to a much more mum-pleasing 1:6. Quantities of vinegar also varied greatly, and some recipes included strong savoury flavours (onion, garlic), whereas others were more heavily spiced (cloves, cinnamon, cumin). Rather than pick one, I decided to take the ideas I liked the best and come up with my own.

The result is the recipe you see below. Miles and I both think it’s fantastic, whether dolloped on scrambled eggs (Miles), on crackers with cream cheese (both of us) or in a hot sandwich with Port Salut cheese and roasted turkey (both of us). I imagine it would also be quite lovely with roasted pork or chicken.

Rhubarb Chutney

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 9 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp grated ginger

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cook the onion for a few minutes until softened, do not brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered 20-30 min, or as long as needed for the apples to soften and for the mixture to get thick. It will thicken somewhat more as it cools.

Yields ~ 4.5 cups.  Keeps for a month or so in the fridge.

NOTE:  I don’t believe this can be safely canned, as the quantities of both sugar and vinegar are not high enough for food safety. Other recipes with similar sugar and vinegar quantities suggest freezing the excess in small jars or freezer bags, and thawing it as needed. That’s what we’re trying.

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