We’ve all heard about chutney and how it’s one of the many savory sauces that came from India. So, when was the last time you had ever heard of rhubarb chutney, and what is this strange-sounding sauce good for? Let’s dive deep into how the addition of rhubarb is a new member of the chutney family.
A Short History Of Rhubarb
Rhubarb is an odd plant that has been used by humankind for at least 4000 years. It was first to be used in Northern Asia for medicinal reasons and was proven to help reduce fevers, help to purge tainted food, and was thought to reduce illness during plague breakouts. It was also used as hair dye, insecticide, and in general, could help clean pots when they needed to be scrubbed.
It became a favorite of the American pioneers who smuggled the rhubarb stalks in their wagons and quickly became the miracle ingredient to turn wilderness diets into something a bit more pleasant. Because it was also known as the pie plant, most people immediately think of rhubarb pie. But technically, rhubarb is not a fruit and is a member of the buckwheat family which grows like a vegetable. Its closest growing relative is the garden sorrel which is a small herb-like plant that is used for soups and salads.
When was rhubarb used for chutney?
It seems that rhubarb was used in all sorts of recipes since the pioneer days, but sometime around the 1970s, a recipe for rhubarb chutney finally started getting around. It was published in The New York Times Heritage Cookbook and seems to have been part of their 1970 edition.
Needless to say, rhubarb chutney is a relatively new chutney variant that is very easy to prepare. Since rhubarb naturally has a tart flavor, it made perfect sense to turn it into chutney.
This transforms the tart flavor into a tangy-sweet flavor that compliments pork meat and pork tenderloins. It also goes very well with cheese and especially cheddar. It makes an excellent dipping sauce for grilled cheese too.
How to make rhubarb chutney at home
This is one of the few recipes that you’ll want to have a Dutch oven pot, but in general, a large pot used for cooking is perfectly fine. Even if you have a deep saucepan, this is perfectly fine for making small amounts of rhubarb chutney. It will be a must to have a large pot if you consider doubling the ingredients for making more canned or jarred chutney. If you’re putting this into small jars, it can last up to a week or more if stored in the fridge.
Obviously, canning and making conserves will require sterilization of the jars and lids is essential for long-term storage. When this is done properly, this rhubarb chutney can last years when stored in the right conditions. Here’s what you need:
- Cooking pot, saucepan, or Dutch oven,
- Jars 20
- 4 Cups Rhubarb (about 1 pound)
- Cups Sugar
- ⅓ Cup Cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
- 1 Tablespoon Ground garlic (freshly ground)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin powder
- Teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ Teaspoon Crushed red pepper (dried)
- Teaspoon Toasted whole cumin seeds (optional)
- ⅓ Cup Golden raisins/sliced in half (optional)
- First, start by rinsing and cleaning your rhubarb stalks and then cutting them into small pieces no bigger than inches long. Put the rhubarb aside until your mixture is ready. Combine all of the ingredients into a cooking pot, saucepan, or Dutch oven, and bring this mixture to a low simmer until the granulated sugar has dissolved. This is when you can now add the rhubarb and increase the heat to medium-high.
- Now all you have to do is cook the rhubarb until it becomes nice and tender. Additionally, the mixture will become thicker and usually takes about 5 minutes after the rhubarb is added. The rhubarb will naturally start to turn to mush so there is not much else to do after this aside from letting it cool down. You can then place the mixture into jars and seal them for storing in the fridge. If you decide to use your chutney, it needs to be room temperature just like many other chutney recipes.