Along the Grapevine

Rhubarb Chutney


I have been making rhubarb chutney as long as I have been cooking. It is more than an condiment for Indian dishes – it can be added to sauces, meatloaves, dressings, dips and sandwiches. It is simple and quick to make, and takes care of all that surplus, if that is a problem, in a way that will preserve it for the months to come. I have not made it the same twice – the choice of spices is endless and it is worth trying different combinations. Starting with rhubarb, sugar and vinegar, just add whichever spices you fancy. Make it as spicy or sweet as you wish, and just follow your nose (the olfactory part that is).

The problem with my rhubarb is that it is not of the ‘pretty’ variety. The middle is green, and although it tastes as good as any, it makes the chutney brown. In this recipe, I attempted to make an appealing red colour, so I offer a few tips to achieve this, as well as a method to prevent overcooking the rhubarb which I think also detracts from its appearance.

In order to do this, I used forced rhubarb, a method I described in an earlier post. This is not necessary, but it did make a difference in the colour. Below is a picture of my freshly picked forced rhubarb. It really is a bit sweeter and more delicate than the grown-in-the light variety.


I also made a rhubarb custard pie with some of it, just to highlight the beautiful colour.


To reduce the cooking time of the rhubarb and prevent it from collapsing into a stringy sauce, I cooked all the other ingredients first and added the rhubarb just for the last few minutes.

I processed half the jars in boiling water for ten minutes, and this also had an effect on the colour, so if you want a really pink product, it’s best to seal in jars and store them in the freezer. I also used a red vinegar, namely one in which I infused red choke cherries, but I’m not sure this made a significant difference.

Rhubarb Chutney


6 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups cider or red vinegar

1 onion

3 red chili peppers

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1 stick cinnamon

3 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp fennel

1 tsp salt

1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)


Mix the sugar and rhubarb and allow to stand overnight or about 12 hours. Strain the syrup from the rhubarb and mix it with all the other ingredients. Cover the mixture with a tight fitting lid, bring it to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the rhubarb. Continue to cook for a further 20 minutes or until the rhubarb is just soft but not disintegrating.

Makes 1.5 litres.

DSC03387.JPGLinked to Fiesta Friday #172

Dandelion Flower Syrup on Punk Domestics

Other rhubarb recipes: Rhubarb Ice Cream;  Crabapple, Rhubarb and Ginger Jam;  Sumac and Rhubarb Soup;  Rhubarb and Berry Crisp;  Spruce Tip Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Sauce;   Wild Berry Tarts with Rhubarb Curd;  Rhubarb Crabapple Ketchup


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

25 thoughts on “Rhubarb Chutney

  1. Lovely. I bet the chutney is particularly nice. I’m a fan of many chutneys, though I’ve never tried rhubarb!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I adore chutney but would not have thought of rhubarb. Do you have it growing in your garden? I have thought about putting some in but wonder about deer or other creatures eating it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I do have quite a lot of it in my garden and it does very well. I planted some of the bright red variety, but it isn’t doing as well as the other. I don’t have any problems with animals eating it, but maybe that’s because the leaves are poisonous. It is one of those unusual perennials that need little or no tending at all, so I love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds so interesting, so much more so than a sweet rhubarb based dessert for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent recipe! We just made a rhubarb chutney very similar to this although we added a little toasted crushed coriander seed. We also used diced fermented ginger which we stirred in when the temperature was lower to preserve the probiotic quality. We also add a tablespoon of live apple cider vinegar at the end and leave it out a few days before refrigerating. You are lucky to ever have an excess of rhubarb!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never tried this one, but this sounds delicious. I think I could just eat this whole thing alone. 😀 I am so glad to see you at this week’s Fiesta Friday party, Hilda. I hope you are having fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful recipe and very good timing 🙂 Thank you!


  7. I am going right over to the neighbors today to get some belated offered rhubarb today to make this to go with my buttered chicken next week! I wonder if I may use some monk fruit sugar instead?


    • Monk fruit sugar sounds delicious. I always try and use alternatives to the usual whenever I can. I hope you enjoy it with your buttered chicken.


      • It was great with the monk fruit sugar and another alternative sweetner(always good to use two to get a natural sweetness!)… DH Gord loved it with the butter chicken!…..this was also an experimental dinner , in that we had mashed potato instead of extra long grain basmati rice(our favorite) for a change with the butter chicken and it was heavenly. The tartness of the the rhubarb compote was a nice substitute for the Tamarind compote I usually make to go with this dish which my son loves also!


      • Thanks, Jo. I’m glad you liked it. It’s good to hear from you.


  8. I am a big fan of chutneys! Hilda, your Rhubarb Chutney looks delicious! Thanks for sharing it here at FF! I am saving it to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This looks and sounds so delicious Hilda. I have never tasted rhubarb before and your recipe is making me drool. I should find it somehow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. MMMMMMMM! You have the red rhubarb, the more sweet sort. I have the normal one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would love to try this recipe, Hilda! It seems finger-licking!

    Liked by 1 person

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