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
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.
- 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
- 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.
- About 2.25kg of chutney