The Daily Spud

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Farewell Sweet Rhubarb

So what’s with the rhubarb, you may well ask, it being well past rhubarb season hereabouts.

I had every reason to ponder this mighty vegetable today because I spent the afternoon excavating the roots of my one over-large rhubarb plant, splitting it into 4 and replanting the newly separated roots. In time, this will mean a lot more rhubarb in my garden, though it may take 15 months or so before the rhubarb recovers fully from the split. Knowing that I will have less rhubarb next year has made me all nostalgic for the rhubarb treats we were able to whip up during this years long season: stewed rhubarb with ginger, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb polenta cake, rhubarb almond torte. All but memories now.

Luckily, though, I also have something more substantial than memories in my cupboard in the form of rhubarb jam (though see where I almost ruined that here) plus a few jars of rhubarb chutney. This was my first year to make this darkly sweet and spicy chutney and it has been a big hit. If my small supply survives ’til Christmas, it will no doubt get paired with the family’s Christmas ham. Meanwhile it’s getting used, ploughman-style, on sharp cheddar and was a fine accompaniment to this weekend’s indian-style chickpea cakes. I’ll continue to savour it for as long as it lasts and then dream of the vats of this self-same chutney that will be possible from my garden supply in just a few years time.

Sweet Rhubarb Chutney

rhubarb chutney

This is taken from Bottling, Pickling and Preserving by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz. For those who are familiar with Branston Pickle, this is not unlike a sweeter version of same.

The Veg:
  • 450g rhubarb
  • 350g onions
The Sweet Stuff:
  • 175g raisins
  • 775g brown sugar
The Pickle Liquid and Seasonings:
  • 480ml cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
The Steps:
  • Trim and slice the rhubarb.
  • Peel and slice the onions.
  • Put the rhubarb and onions into a preserving pan, along with all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Stir over a low heat, with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 2 hours or until the chutney has reduced and thickened.
  • Spoon into warmed, sterilised jars to within 3mm of the tops. Seal, label and keep in a cool dark place for one month before using.
The Results:
  • About 2.25kg of chutney


  1. Buzzing from FoodBuzz. Love your blog – even though some of the ingredients you use are not everyday stuff and I have never seen rhubarb – yet.

  2. Daily Spud

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks Jun – I guess I think of rhubarb as an everyday thing but it’s not so for everyone :) – I’ll have to post some more pictures and recipes when it comes back into season next spring!

  3. This was the first summer of growing my own rhubarb and I’ve made the requisite cakes and other baked goods. I froze the rest, not knowing what to do with them. Until now . . . !

  4. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Ah, that’s great :)

    If you’re using the rhubarb from frozen, the mixture will be more liquid at first, but that just means it’ll take a bit longer to get to a really nice thick consistency. It’s worth it though – by the time you’re done it’ll seem like the rhubarb has practically dissolved into the chutney and the whole thing is almost syrupy.

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