4.28.10 Seeing Red 2.0
The rhubarb patch we put in last summer already looks full and happy! I think we can start harvesting from it soon. I didn't want to be precipitous, though, so I came home with an armload of the stuff from the market this weekend. I love rhubarb in combination with strawberries, as a syrup to mix with seltzer, or as a warm compote over ice cream, but I'm trying not to eat too many sweets these days (TRYING) so I thought I'd make a chutney. I adore chutneys, with their wonderfully complex mix of flavors: hot, sour, salty, sweet. It's a perfect storm for your tastebuds. This one combines tart rhubarb with dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, sour cherries and a host of spices and aromatics: cumin, coriander, garlic, hot chiles, ginger and fresh turmeric. Look for this last in an Indian market, or substitute a teaspoon of ground dried turmeric. It has a wonderfully bitter bite and a rich saffron color that will stain everything in sight.
Turmeric, sometimes known as Indian saffron, is an excellent anti-inflammatory and good for the digestion, so eat plenty of it if you have aching joints or suffer from IBS or the like.Try this chutney with roast pork, grilled lamb or on a cheese sandwich. It would also be delicious eaten plain by the spoonful while leaning against the kitchen counter, or so I've been told...Rhubarb Chutneyabout 5 cups6 cups diced rhubarb2 cups dark muscovado sugar1 cup cider vinegar2 large cloves garlic, minced2 medium yellow onions, diced3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger3 tablespoons diced crystallized ginger1/2-3/4 cup dried sour cherries2 Fresno peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced2 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced2 teaspoons salt2 teaspoons freshly grated turmeric1 teaspoon cumin seeds1 teaspoon whole coriander1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakesCombine all the ingredients in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until quite thick, about 1 hour. Stir frequently toward the end to avoid scorching. Preserve according to canning instructions, or keep refrigerated in glass jars.