It’s spring! And in spring we have rhubarb! So delicious in its sweet tartness. And what to do if you have a surfeit? Chutney!
Forgotten about humble chutney? Try this for size. Then use it anywhere you might think it fits.
Chutney. A marvellous pickle that is as versatile as it is delicious. It’s originally from India and they’ve found evidence of chutney from 500BC. It’s been in and out of favour, trucked around by the Romans and the English as they spread their empire and their culture.
I grew up with a mother who bottled, pickled and preserved. ‘Waste not want not’ was the theme to our food. And her mother’s green mango pickle was to die for – but will post that later. Today, we have my friend Desma’s rhubarb chutney to try. Desma is a terrific graphic designer so I used her photos here – sooo good.
And don’t think chutney is just for curries or cheese – it’s good in so many dishes, adding a hint of spice and sweetness that will lift your cooking to another level.
Go! Explore! Be daring. And, most of all, enjoy!
4 – 5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
10 stalks rhubarb, trimmed, roughly chopped
1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
4 long red chillies, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
A word here – don’t get carried away with the chopping. Chutney is so much better when the fruit is in fairly large pieces. And it might seem a lot of vinegar, but the apple cider is milder than its other cousins, and works with the fruit here.
Throw everything in a large heavy saucepan, heat gently and stir, without boiling, for 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil, and immediately turn heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes or until mixture is thick.
Spoon hot chutney into hot sterilised jars. (Wash them in hot soapy water, put them on a clean tray upside down, with lids, and bake in a warm oven (175 degrees) for 15 minutes. ) Seal immediately. Store in a dark place for at least 3 weeks to allow flavours to develop. Let the magic happen. Refrigerate once opened.
And as a thank you to Desma for sharing her photos and recipe, if you need a great bit of design – it’s Desma Pacitto Graphic Design, Hobart. Ph: 0418 717 021.
Have you found a wonderful unique use for chutney? Share with us! I use it in marinades, sauces, soups, wherever you wish.