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Got Rhubarb? Make Chutney!

I don’t think I’m the only one staring down more than one ginormous rhubarb plants taking over the back yard. When life hands you rhubarb – yes, there are pies to be made, and milkshakes and lemonade – but when I have a lot of rhubarb to use up, I love to put up jars of rhubarb chutney – or freeze it to add to curries, serve with pakoras, or set out in little dishes on cheese platters. Tart rhubarb makes the perfect base for a tangy chutney; its ruby colour transforms into a lovely shade of mauve, too.

Fortunately, Marisa of Food in Jars just released her first cookbook, and it arrived on my doorstep last week. I spent Saturday morning poring over it, and wanted to make everything in the book, but decided that my first recipe would be rhubarb chutney, on account of said glut in my back yard. There will be many next recipes.

One thing I love about chutney: you just chop everything and toss it in a pot.

Simmer it until the house smells sweet and vinegary, and it looks like chutney.

I froze some, and served the rest with warm veggie pakoras.

Rhubarb Chutney

adapted from The New York Times Heritage Cook Book by Jean Hewitt, by way of Food in Jars

4-6 cups sliced rhubarb
1 large onion, chopped
1/2-1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar (don’t be alarmed, the vinegar really cuts the sweetness)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot (don’t use a straight cast iron one here, all that vinegar will strip away your seasoning), bring to a boil and simmer gently until the mixture breaks down and is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Fill jars and refrigerate, or fill freezer bags and freeze. Makes about 6 cups.

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