Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rhubarb Chutney, Revisited

Since we gobbled up the half-pint of spiced rhubarb-orange chutney that my friend Jay made, it seemed necessary for me to make a batch of my own, especially as we are at the beginning of our local rhubarb season.  I made a test batch of the rhubarb chutney tonight, but I sort of went my own way with it. I used tangerine juice and zest (because that's what I had on hand), omitted the allspice, doubled the peppercorns, ginger and garlic, added a big pinch of red pepper flakes, and a teaspoon of celery seed. Also, I swapped out golden raisins for brown. Finally, I added some extra vinegar to account for the slight increase in low-acid ingredients. Ultimately, my version of the chutney is lighter in color and flavor, but has a little more heat. My roomie Cyd declared mine the summer version and Jay's the autumn spice variety. Both equally yummy, says my official taster!

Sunny Days Tangerine Ginger Rhubarb Chutney

20 whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 tablespoons grated tangerine zest (I probably only got 2T at most)
2/3 cup fresh tangerine juice
6 cups chopped rhubarb
5 cups lightly packed brown sugar (next time, I might cut this back by a cup)
4 cups cider vinegar
3 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
4 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (2T would be plenty for most folks!)
4 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root (ditto)
1 tablespoon curry powder
big pinch of red pepper flakes

1.) TIE peppercorns, mustard seeds, pickling spice, and celery seed in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. Set aside.
2.) COMBINE tangerine zest and juice, rhubarb, brown sugar, vinegar, onions, raisins, garlic, and ginger in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occassionally, for 45 minutes.
3.) ADD curry powder, pepper flakes, and reserved spice bag; stir well. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until thick enough to mound on spoon, about 30 minutes.
4.) PREPARE boiling water canner in the meantime. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
5.) LADLE hot chutney into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

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