3.11.2017

I Love Rhubarb in the Springtime

Yes, I also love Paris in the springtime, but that is irrelevant today.

This past spring, I made rhubarb chutney with every intention of posting it to Cocoa & Lavender. Oops, I forgot.

However, our neighbors Ursula and Bob didn't forget, and asked when it would be on Cocoa & Lavender. You have them to thank for this post.

The timing of this recipe is perfect for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, but about 6 months early for all my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, as they are about to enter fall and winter.

This recipe came to me from my friend Christopher more than 20 years ago; it was his grandmother Lassie's recipe. I have changed it very little since then, as you don't mess with perfection.

~ David

Lassie's Rhubarb Chutney

20 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 large onions, thinly sliced
1 pint cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients into a large kettle and boil slowly for about 1 1/2 hours. Pack into sterilized jars, and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. 

Alternative fact: you don't have to "can" these! You can get freezer jam containers (plastic with a tight-sealing lid), fill them to 1/2-inch from the top, and simply put them in the freezer!

Makes 10 half-pint jars.

Canning Information 
·       Canning: you don't need any specialize equipment to process jars of jam, jellies, chutneys, or vegetables. You only need a deep kettle and a rack that fits in the bottom of the kettle. Fill the kettle with water about two-thirds full, and place the rack in the bottom. The rack ensures the boiling water will find all sides of your jars. Bring the water to a rolling boil and carefully lower the sealed jars onto the rack, making sure they aren't too crowded and that they are completely submerged. You may need to process your jars in batches. When lowering the jars, I use rubber-ended tongs, and I always wear rubber gloves to protect my hands from splashing boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, set your timer for 10 minutes (or the prescribed time for your recipe).
·       When the time is done, remove the jars and place them on rack to dry and cool. As they cool, you will hear the lids "pop" as the internal temperature cools. This means the seal is airtight, and they can be stored without refrigeration. If they don't pop, sometimes they just need a slight push with your finger. Any jar that doesn’t pop has an imperfect seal and should be kept refrigerated and used first.

·       Your jars need to be sterile. Look it up online, as there are many ways to do this. One way is straight from the dishwasher after they have gone through the sterilization cycle. However, that is hard to time for the moment you need them. I like to wash them in the dishwasher, leave it closed till I am ready, and then, using tongs, I dip each jar in boiling water as I am about to use it. I wash then dip the lids too. If you get any preserves on the rim of the jar, make sure you clean that off well with a damp cloth, as it will prevent the seal from working.

30 comments:

  1. Rhubarb is starting to show up in LA and it's on my to-do list. GREG

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    1. Now is definitely the time for rhubarb - I wish the season lasted longer!

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  2. This sounds, fabulous, David. I've recreated an appetizer from Harvest that involves chutney, and I'd love to use homemade!

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    1. I hope you will post the recipe, Lois - I love new hors d'oeuvres ideas!

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  3. I love rhubarb and your chutney looks fantastic. I am going to look for rhubarb in the store.

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  4. Hi David here in the UK right now there is beautiful, early, forced rhubarb - slender pink/purple stalks, and delicate green frilly leaves - a real beauty. I will wait for the coarser, stronger garden rhubarb for this robust chutney, which sounds good.
    Rhubarb, with friar's beard and loquats, is always welcome -it means that spring is almost here! I particularly love the young one simply dipped in soft brown sugar - sort of "natural candy"- or, in true English style, roasted and accompanied with a vanilla custard.

    I landed on your lovely site searching for rhubarb - how lucky I was . ciao, stefano (www.italianhomecooking.co.uk)

    ps if u like all rhubarb things, there is a delectable booklet called RHUBARBARIA, from the English publishing house Prospect Books, full of anecdotes, recipes, stories, history ...

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    1. Ciao, Stafano! Love your blog - as you may have read on these pages, I am pretty passionate about traditional Italian cuisine, although I am only "Italiano in spirito!"

      While I know loquats as nespole from my time in Italy, I love them and they grow well here. I am unfamiliar with Friar's Beard, though - I must do a bit of research on that.

      I will definitely check out Rhubarbaria - thanks for the tip! And thanks for your wonderful comment and for finding me. Ciao, d

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    2. ciao david... thanks and .. my pleasure
      rhubarbaria: LOOK! I have found it for u an on line (legal) version... http://www.dissertation.xlibx.info/d1-technical/1969612-1-the-english-kitchen-rhubarbaria-for-joan-thirsk-and-ann-prior-t.php
      you can download the pdf too.... I lllllovvve technology! s

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    3. Che fantastico! What a gift, Stefano - it's like Christmas! I have already downloaded it and have started reading - naturally, I began with the index of recipes. Grazie tante! Isn't the internet a wonderful thing???

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  5. Love the foodie signal that spring is in the air. And, something else to do with rhubarb that isn't pie. Although, pie is good too :-)

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    1. The harbingers of spring - rhubarb and the amazing fragrance of the citrtus trees that we experienced chez vous this weekend. Another great thing for which to use rhubarb - a compote used over grilled chicken marinated in lemon, olive oil and rosemary. Simple, but so good.

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  6. Oh I'm thinking this may be nice with a really sharp English cheddar, or maybe a ploughman's lunch?

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    1. I am thinking (actually, knowing from experience) that you are quite right, John!

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  7. Can't wait to make this and throw it on top of some lovely goat cheese from the farmers market, I go to both in Tucson and someone usually has some fresh.

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    1. Linda - it is especially good with the Goat Brie from Fiore di Capra. We are so lucky to have such good, local cheeses!

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  8. We're honored to be mentioned in this fabulous food blog, but we take no credit whatsoever for such a delicious recipe! But we have tasted the result, directly from David's own kitchen, and confirm it's the most mouth-watering and perfectly balanced chutney we've ever enjoyed.

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    1. But, if it hadn''t been for you two, I might have forgotten to post this at all! So, you must take some credit... I am so glad you both liked it so well.

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  9. Hi David, sounds like a fabulous recipe, I tasted rhubarb for the first time 2 years ago and cannot get enough of it. Love that you made a chutney.

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    1. I think rhubarb is often forgotten because it is so seasonal. Unlike asparagus and strawberries, which are somehow grown year-round, these tart stalks only appear in spring....

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  10. Thanks for also including the canning information as I am not (at all) a regular "canner," but armed with this good information, I might fake it for a day! Looks yummy!

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    1. It is yummy! I am going to make a note that these jars can also be frozen quite successfully. Thanks for putting that thought in my head, Susan!

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  11. this is such a lovely cooking blog. Since i actually rarely make the recipes, i'm always interested in the story that surrounds each dish.

    here, the relationship is perfect. The recipe itself & the food ingredients come first & foremost, as they should. But the accompanying photographs are gorgeous & the bits, pieces, cries & whispers of the stories are a perfect sidebar.

    rhubarb! we won't see any for nearly 3 more months. I'm up here in eastern canada & we are having the snowstorm today that has walloped new york city & shut down times square.

    when the snow finally melts in our gardens - in about a month - we'll see a few green herbs growing already. Lemon balm will be one. It seems some plants respond to the increasing light that is able to reach them through the thinning layers of snow, even though technically these plants should be frozen.

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    1. What a lovely comment! I was speaking with a blogger colleague and we both agreed that we like the stories often as much as we like the recipes. For us, cooking is personal and sharing it includes sharing a bit of ourselves.

      I hope your snow melts soon - I remember those long, extenuated winters in the Northeast. Enjoy the lemon balm when she returns!

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  12. Hi David, I've not cooked with rhubarb before and this looks like a perfect recipe to start with. Both of us enjoy chutneys and relishes. I adore this post, the photos are glorious as per usual. Thanks for the canning tips and facts. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Ngeun! I hope you have a chance to make this - and try some rhubarb! As kids, we used to stick the stalks in sugar and chew on it.

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  13. Perfect spring recipe! It will be a couple months before our rhubarb is ready, but I squirreled some away in the freezer :)

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    1. Well, Inger, I wanted to make sure I got out the recipe in time for those first stalks!

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