Rhubarb Chutney

rhubarb chutney

After going completely crazy for rhubarb back in the spring, I took a bit of a break from it in June (with all the other summer fruits and vegetables coming into ripeness, there was plenty to keep me occupied). However, during that fallow time, I still had rhubarb that needed to be used, tightly wrapped and tucked into the bottommost corner of my left-hand crisper drawer. When the 4th of July weekend rolled around, I decided to have a weekend of many canning projects. I made multiple batches of pickles (bread and butter & dilly beans) and jams (apricot), and finally did something with that neglected rhubarb.

Though the ends of the stalks were a bit worse for the storage time, the rhubarb was still in acceptable shape and more than good enough to be turned into something wonderful. Back when I made that batch of grape catchup (has anyone tried that recipe? It’s okay if you haven’t, it is sort of a weird one), I also noted two rhubarb recipes in close proximity. One was a recipe for rhubarb butter and the other was a rhubarb chutney. I headed into my canning extravaganza with every intention of making the butter, but on that Friday night, when I finally got around to dealing with the rhubarb, I had just finished making six pints of apricot jam, and I was weary of all those sweet notes.

My fingers flipped to the chutney recipe and wouldn’t you know, I had every single ingredient the recipe called for right there in my kitchen. It was fated (or I have a ridiculously overstocked kitchen. I think Scott would argue for the latter) and so I made chutney from my beloved New York Times Heritage Cook Book.

Thing is, I don’t really come from chutney people. We McClellans like our condiments just fine (I grew up dipping steamed broccoli in mayonnaise and roasted potatoes in mustard), but my mother has never been a sweet-and-savory-in-the-same-bite kind of person, so I grew up unaccustomed to the ways in which a good chutney can transform a dish. And I must say, this simple recipe is fairly transformational (at least for this chutney innocent).

It’s quite tasty (although I think if I make it again, I’ll make it just a bit spicier) and I have plans for it to encounter a nice slab of chevre sometime in the very near future (my latest party trick, when called upon to bring a contribution to a potluck or evening of in-home drinks with friends is to bring jam, goat cheese and crackers. It is so simple and people are completely impressed). If you’ve got some rhubarb to use up and you are tired of jams, cobblers, slumps and crisps, this is a good way to go.

Rhubarb Chutney

Yield: Five to Six Pints


  • 8 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 6 cups sliced onion
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 7 cups light brown sugar (don’t be alarmed, the vinegar really cuts the sweetness)
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you’re a spice fiend, most definitely add more)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy kettle (a enamel-lined dutch oven works really well here. 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 slightly thickened (the recipe calls for 45 minutes of cooking time, I’d cut it a bit shorter if you want your rhubarb to maintain some of its texture/identity). Stir frequently, otherwise it will stick (and sticking leads to scortching, so stir, stir, stir).
  2. When the texture pleases you, pour into clean pint jars and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.


Rhubarb Chutney from page 547 of the "The New York Times Heritage Cook Book" by Jean Hewitt

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23 Responses to Rhubarb Chutney

  1. 1

    I *love* rhubarb chutney. It’s also great on grilled chicken or pork. I think the recipe I usually use is from the Joy of Cooking Canning Y Preserving, but it’s almost identical to the NYTimes Heritage one you posted.

    I was out of town and missed a lot of rhubarb season, but managed to make one batch of jam with rhubarb – a delicately-flavored rhubarb-ginger one: http://seasonal-menus.blogspot.com/2009/07/rhubarb-and-ginger-jam.html

  2. 2
    Erin says:

    I’m fascinated by the thought of Rhubarb Chutney. It sounds amazing and I really love the idea of consuming it with cheese and crackers. Yum Yum!

  3. 3
    Tara says:

    Very intriguing recipe. I always take hot pepper jam, cheese, and crackers to a party-I am sure my friends would welcome a chutney at this point. :)

  4. 4
    Nicole says:

    I am happy with NONE of the rhubarb jam recipes I’ve found (and there are many), so thank you SO MUCH for this. I have rhubarb from my CSA box waiting for a use!

  5. 5
    Morgan says:

    Perfect! It was great over stirfried veggies and rice last night, and I’m putting it over cream cheese with crackers for playgroup Friday (for the moms, not the kids:). Thanks, Marisa!

  6. 6
    Jenn FL says:

    Oh my … another one of my favourite things!!

    Have I mentioned that I love your blog!!

  7. 7
    Kat PGH says:

    Ha! this is the exact rhubarb chutney recipe that my stepmom uses, and I love it very much! I’ve been looking for it for a few days, because the rhubarb is just coming into season and I’ve started to get into canning this year ;)

  8. 8
    Jamie says:

    I’m making the chutney and though it has been simmering for an hour it is still very soupy. Do I just keep simmering or will my rhubarb and onions disintegrate into nothing?

  9. 9
    Jessi says:

    Could I add less vinegar and sugar next time (3 c. vinegar & 6 c. brown sugar) so it’s a bit thicker?
    This was my first time canning and I’m SO glad I found your blog. I also made your orange rhubarb butter and I’m planning to make the rosemary rhubarb jam.
    Thanks for the fun recipes!

  10. 10

    [...] Rhubarb Chutney from The New York Times Heritage Cook Book by Jean Hewitt (547), via Food in Jars [...]

  11. 11

    [...] Rhubarb Chutney (from Food in Jars) — I’m particularly interested in this one, because during my internet travels I read a comment someone made about how rhubarb chutney is fabulous on cheddar cheese grilled sandwiches… [...]

  12. 12
    Ginger says:

    I made a simple rhubarb chutney this week to have with roasted pork tenderloin and it was divine! It was just a chopped onion, 2 cups of chopped rhubarb, salt & pepper, a little sugar and water, and a tablespoon or 2 of vinegar at the end. I made it in a skillet. The recipe (from Real Simple’s Spring/Summer 2012 mag/book) called for red wine vinegar, but as I’ve recently moved, I couldn’t find any, so I substituted it with red raspberry vinegar. Turned out awesome. I’d love to know if it would be safe to can, though! My aunt has a couple of gigantic rhubarb plants and has been giving it away by the armload!

    • 12.1
      Marisa says:

      Ginger, that recipe doesn’t have nearly enough acid in it for it to be safe for canning. That’s a refrigerator-only recipe.

      • Lorraine Doyno Evans says:

        I just found a rhubarb recipe that I tried and loved but did not can becuse there were no istructions to do so and I only made a smaller test bach to see if we would like it. Do you think the recipy below is acidic enough to can. If not, how do you make it canning worthy? If it’s ok to can, how long do you water bath it for and how do you know? I’d also like to add more nuts than the recipe calls for…how will that effect it? Thank you so much.

        Rhubarb Chutney  from 1989 Mother Earth News
        6 cups diced rhubarb
        2 cups sugar
        1 1 / 2 cups raisins
        1 / 2 cup chopped onion
        1 / 2 cup vinegar
        1 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon ginger
        1 teaspoon cinnamon
        1 teaspoon allspice
        1 / 2 cup chopped walnuts

        Put all ingredients except walnuts in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until thickened. Cool, then stir in walnuts. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least a month.

        • Marisa says:

          Lorraine, I don’t think there’s enough acid in there for boiling water bath canning.

          • Lorraine Doyno Evans says:

            I do have a canning pressure cooker. Can I use this recipe with the pressure cooker and if so how long do I pressure cook it and at what pressure?

            The basic pressure canning instruction for rhubarb just say 1/2 cup sugar for each qt of rhubarb, process at 6 lbs pressure for 8 minutes. Would I use the same instructions for the above recipe if it ok to do?

  13. 13
  14. 14

    [...] Rhubarb Chutney from Food in Jars [...]

  15. 15

    [...] know I’ve already shared several recipes with you from Marisa’s blog, Food in Jars, but this recipe for orange creamsicle jelly is one of my absolute favorites. It’s tangy, sweet, [...]

  16. 16
    Judy says:

    Love the Rhubarb Chutney recipe! Made it today. I was out of cayenne so used red pepper flakes instead and because I have a serious addiction to everything HOT, I used 2 teasspoons. I also added a teaspoon of mustard seed and a teaspoon on fresh ginger (as well as powdered).
    What are your thoughts on a steam canner? It uses much less water and uses the same time as a water bath canner.

  17. 17
    Rebecca says:

    I halved this recipe except for the raisins (I put in 1.5 cups). Also because I used frozen rhubarb, a lot more water sweated out of the rhubarb so the yield was quite high. I am worried that the extra water would affect the acidity and render this recipe unsafe for canning. I cooked it down a fair amount to get the consistency I liked. Any advice?
    thanks so much

  18. 18


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