Making My Mom’s Rhubarb Chutney — Photos

My mom has been making a rhubarb chutney (of the British variety, not the Indian variety) since I was young, and she has loved it as long as I remember. Every year, she would harvest the rhubarb growing in her garden and make at least one batch per season, or two, or even three, depending on the yield.

I have been saying for years that I should learn how to make the chutney for her, although it has taken until this year before I finally consulted her recipe card and notes. The recipe I present here is adapted from (and very closely tracks) the recipe on my mom’s recipe card with several years’ worth of notes. The recipe on the card, if my recollection of her stories is accurate, is apparently derived from a recipe developed by her church ladies’ group in the early 1980’s, and which was possibly assigned to her after one of their canning sessions with a request to make some at home for an upcoming fall bazaar’s preserves’ table. It also incidentally is identical in ingredients and comparable in amounts to a recipe found on the internet for a barbecue sauce … so go figure.

Mom eats it as a condiment to various dishes, such as roast pork, chicken pot pies, shepherd’s pies, and many other dishes … basically, despite its sweet nature, it is also savoury, and pairs well with a number of savoury dishes.

Making the rhubarb chutney:

First, I took out two groupings of commercially grown rhubarb, in this case, about nine stalks each:

Two groupings of nine stalks each of rhubarb

The individual stalks of rhubarb were washed:

Rhubarb stalks washed
Washed rhubarb stalks

The rhubarb stalks were trimmed of their ends, leaves, and as the case may be, torn or damaged parts:

Rhubarb stalks trimmed

A non-reactive stainless steel pot (yes, there are some cheap stainless steel pots which will react with acid contents!) was taken out, and put to the ready beside the cutting board:

Stainless steel pot taken out

The rhubarb was sliced into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices:

Rhubarb sliced

The chopped rhubarb was transferred to the stainless steel pot as sufficient amounts accumulated on the chopping board:

Transferring chopped rhubarb to pot
Transferring chopped rhubarb to pot

Once all the rhubarb was chopped and transferred to the pot, to be sure of the amount of rhubarb I had chopped was enough for the recipe, I measured it out …

Rhubarb measured out

… and placed it in a bowl:

Measured out rhubarb placed in a bowl

Once measured out, the rhubarb was placed back in the stainless steel pot.

Next, packed brown sugar was measured out:

Brown sugar measured out

The brown sugar was added to the chopped rhubarb:

Brown sugar added to chopped rhubarb
All brown sugar added to chopped rhubarb

The chopped rhubarb and brown sugar were mixed with a wooden spoon:

Wooden spoon used to mix chopped rhubarb and brown sugar
Brown sugar and chopped rhubarb mixed with wooden spoon

The chopped rhubarb and brown sugar mix was covered with the stainless steel pot lid:

Stainless steel pot covered

The stainless steel pot with the rhubarb and brown sugar mix was placed in the refrigerator overnight:

Pot of rhubarb and brown sugar in fridge

Onions were taken out:

Onions taken out

The onions were trimmed:

Onions trimmed

The onions were sliced into half-coins:

Onions sliced into half coins

The onions were coarsely chopped:

Onions coarsely chopped

The onions were transferred to a measuring cup to keep track of how much onions I had:

Onions measured out

The chopped onions were transferred to a sealable container:

Chopped onions transferred to sealable container
Chopped onions transferred to sealable container
Chopped onions transferred to sealable container

The container of onions was covered and placed in the fridge until the next day.

The next day, the first thing done was to fill a pot with water, for use later as a boiling water bath for the mason jars used to bottle the chutney:

Pot filled with water
Pot filled with water

A burner on the stove was turned on:

Stove turned on

The pot of water was placed on the stove to bring it to a boil:

Pot of water placed on stove

The pot of rhubarb and brown sugar was taken out of the fridge:

Pot of rhubarb and brown sugar taken out of fridge

Another burner on the stove was turned on:

Second burner turned on

The pot of rhubarb and brown sugar was placed on the stove:

Pot of rhubarb and brown sugar placed on stove

As the mix began heating up, it was mixed to loosen some brown sugar at the bottom of the pot:

Rhubarb and brown sugar mixed

Throughout the following process, the mix was constantly stirred in order to avoid burning at the bottom of the pot.

The chopped onions were added to the pot:

Chopped onions added to pot
Chopped onions added to pot
Chopped onions added to pot

The ingredients were mixed together:

Ingredients mixed together

Vinegar was measured out:

Vinegar measured out

The vinegar was added to the pot:

Vinegar added to pot
Vinegar added to pot

The ingredients were yet again mixed together:

Ingredients mixed

Raisins were measured out:

Raisins measured out

The raisins were placed in a small blender, to coarsely chop them:

Raisins placed in small blender for chopping

The raisins were chopped:

Raisins chopped
Chopped raisins

The chopped raisins were added to the pot:

Chopped raisins added to pot
Chopped raisins added to pot

The raisins were mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.

Ground cloves were measured out:

Ground cloves measured out

The ground cloves were added to the pot:

Ground cloves added to pot

Ground cinnamon was measured out:

Ground cinnamon measured out

The ground cinnamon was added to the pot; as evidenced by the rising steam, the ingredients were heating up nicely:

Ground cinnamon added to pot
Ground cinnamon added to pot

Ground allspice was measured out:

Ground allspice measured out

The ground allspice was added to the pot:

Ground allspice added to pot
Ground allspice added to pot

At this point, the chutney was starting to boil, and, for reference, two hours was set on the stove timer (because the original recipe called for two hours of simmering):

Timer set

The stove burner was turned down to a low setting:

Stove set to low setting

The ingredients were constantly stirred in order to avoid burning and sticking on the bottom of the pot:

Ingredients constantly stirred

After about half an hour of simmering …

Half an hour elapsed on timer

… this is what the chutney looked like:

Chutney after half hour of simmering

At this point, the pot of water for sanitizing the jars came to a boil and its burner turned off:

Water bath coming to a boil

After about an hour of simmering …

Hour elapsed on timer

… this is what the chutney looked like, and was at the point of being syrupy:

Chutney after hour of simmering

As such, I knew I wasn’t going to need to continue simmering the chutney for another hour.

Canning tools were taken out: a ladle, a jar funnel, tongs, a large spoon, and a jar wrench:

Canning tools taken out

Mason jars, rings, and lids were taken out — and yes, I used good condition used lids for this batch, since I had no intention of giving away any of the jars:

Mason jars and lids

The water for the water bath was brought back to a boil, and mason jars were placed in the boiling water:

Water brought back to a boil and mason jars placed in boiling water

The canning funnel was quickly dipped in the boiling water to sanitize it:

Canning funnel dipped in boiling water

Unfortunately, at this point, I could not take as many photos, in order to quickly fill the jars while the chutney and jars were still hot, and create a proper seal with the lids.

The chutney was taken off the stove; a mason jar was taken out of the boiling water, and the jar was filled with chutney:

Mason jar filled with chutney

A mason jar lid and ring were dipped in the boiling water:

Lid and ring dipped in boiling water

The lid and ring were placed on the mason jar and the ring tightened.

The process was repeated until all the chutney was bottled, in this case, filling seven jars:

Filled chutney jars

The jars were placed in the fridge to cool down a little more quickly:

Jars of chutney placed in fridge to cool them down

Afterwards, labels were placed on the jars, and the jars were placed in the cupboard.

And … Mom loves it, and has even whispered “it’s better than when I make it!” … no doubt (at least) a mild exaggeration. 🙂

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