It is early spring here in Montrose and rhubarb is the first perinial vegetable to emerge. The rhubarb growing in my garden is from New York, John’s aunt Kim shared a split from her rhubarb many years ago. We’ve moved it several times and still it grows well. If you are fortunate rhubarb will grow prolifically after the first year. My plants spread over 6′ by the end of the season. When I harvest the stalks, the only safe part of the plant to eat, I lay the leaves around my garden to supress weeds. Strawberry-rhubarb pie has become a tradition for celebrating June birthdays, I chop the stalks and freeze them for use in smoothies throughout the year, but my favorite way to enjoy rhubarb is rhubarb chutney.
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1+1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
8 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
12 black peppercorns
1. Place vinegar and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.
2. Add rhubarb and remaining ingredients to pan. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes.
3.Cool completely. Store in a glass jar or plastic storage container in refrigerator. Bring to room temp before serving. Makes 5.5 cups.
My favorite way to serve rhubarb chutney is over goat Brie cheese. I process pint jars in a steam canner, like you would for jam. Check with the your local cooperative extension for processing time at your elevation.