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Rhubarb Cranberry Honey Chutney

Transform little ole’ unassuming rhubarb into this tangy sweet spiced rhubarb cranberry chutney. Simply simmer chunks of the tart stalks in hot sweet and sour honey syrup. For rosy pink color, mix in dried cranberries. Add cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and a pinch of red pepper to give your chutney its bright spiced flavor!

Over head shot of Rhubarb Chutney |in jars with spoons

Click here to PIN Rhubarb Cranberry Chutney.

Here’s how to make rhubarb cranberry honey chutney:

  • Mix honey with both red wine and balsamic vinegars in a saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks, fresh grated ginger, orange zest, cardamom, and red pepper flakes and heat just until the mixture boils.  
  • Next add dried cranberries and chopped red onions and bring to a boil again.
  • Stir in chopped rhubarb. Turn down the heat–in a few minutes the rhubarb will release its juice. Simmer just until the rhubarb is tender. Important! Resist the urge to keep simmering–you want it tender but not completely falling apart.
  • About 40 minutes from start to finish and you’ve got a delicious relish to dress up most anything savory.
rhubarb, dried cranberries and red onion in measuring cup

Just so you know, some of the links below are affiliates. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!

What is chutney?

Rhubarb Cranberry Honey Chutney tips:

  • When you add the rhubarb and dried cranberries to the hot spiced honey and vinegar base, resist the urge to add water—in short time the rhubarb breaks down, making plenty of liquid.
  • Try not to cook your chutney more than four minutes as it gets mushy. Not a bad thing flavor-wise, it’s just that tender rhubarb chunks look better. If you are going to preserve your chutney by canning, the rhubarb breaks down anyway.
  • You can use either ground cardamom or the crushed seeds of cardamom pods. (Affiliate link.) No doubt about it, the freshly crushed seeds have much more aromatic sexy cardamom flavor–cardamom seeds begin to lose their essential oil the minute they’re ground.

What to do with your rhubarb chutney?

  • Pair rhubarb chutney with Indian curried dishes like this chard and chickpea curry.
  • Tart-sweet-spicy rhubarb chutney makes a delicious condiment for any kind of burger.
  • I love this chutney spread on toast, especially with a little almond butter.
  • Put pretty pink chutney on a plate of cheese and crackers for a sparkling appetizer.
  • Want to add pizzaz to a simple sauté of leafy greens, like kale, chard and spinach? Yep–a decent dollop of rhubarb chutney is a delicious accompaniment to those greens.
  • A jar of homemade spiced rhubarb chutney makes a great hostess gift. Follow the recipe directions below so you can preserve yours for later.
  • From the East Indian word chatni, chutney is a spicy condiment or relish made of fruit, sugar, vinegar, and spices. It can be chunky or smooth in texture, mild to hot in spiciness and sour to sweet in flavor.
  • For instance, this rhubarb cranberry chutney is made with dried cranberries and rhubarb chunks, which on their own are quite tart. The sugar here is honey.
  • For the sour component, I use both red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Chutneys often include chopped onions, and here, in keeping the color theme, I use red onions.
  • For heat, there’s a nice hit of red chile and fresh ginger. Warm aromatic cardamom and cinnamon spice balances the sweet, sour and fruity.

When someone says rhubarb, you first think pie, right? In some parts they even call rhubarb pieplant, since pie is what we usually make with rhubarb. Step out of the pie box and into the sweet tangy spicy world of chutney.

***** Take advantage of rhubarb season and pair it with strawberries–you will love this roasted rhubarb and crazy berry compote with vanilla ice cream!

How to preserve rhubarb cranberry chutney by canning it in jars:

You will need canning jars, canning seals and rings, a jar lifter and canning funnel, plus a water bath canner or large pot with a rack in the bottom. (I use my pasta pot with its insert as the rack.) All these tools are affiliate links.

  • Fill the canner or pot about one third full of water. Heat water until hot, not boiling.
  • Wash the jars and keep warm until ready to fill. I dip the jars in the pot of hot canning water and use a jar lifter to pull them out just before filling with the chutney. Have your lids and rings warm and ready too.
  • Place a canning funnel over the jar and ladle in the chutney, leaving ½ inch of head space. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp tea towel or paper towel.
  • Place lids and rings on jars. Tighten the rings just finger tight.
  • Using a jar lifter, place jars on the rack in the canner. The rack keeps the jars off the bottom and also keeps them from hitting each other. The jars must not sit directly on the bottom of the pot or touch each other. I sit my jars on the insert of my pasta pot, leaving a little space between each jar. (I can fit 6 (1/2-pint) jars in at a time)
  • Make sure the jars stay covered by 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water during the canning time. Cover the pot and bring to a full boil. Don’t start the time until the water is boiling.
  • Keep at a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Since I live at 7000 feet above sea level, I need to adjust time, adding an extra 15 minutes. Read here about altitude adjustments for canning.
  • When the canning time is up, use a jar lifter to carefully remove the jars. Set upright in a draft-free area to cool, on a wooden board or a kitchen towel. Leave 1 to 2 inches of space in between so air can circulate.
  • As the jars cool, the flat lid will seal–listen for the pingypopping sound and watch for the slight dome to pull down.
  • That’s when you know your chutney canning project is a success! Yay! (If you find a jar that did not seal, simply put the jar in the fridge and use the chutney within 2 weeks.)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine, April 1994 issue.

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PS If you make this recipe and love it, please consider leaving a blog post comment. Your comments help other readers learn more about the recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!!

This is an update of the Rhubarb Cranberry Honey Chutney I posted here in June 2017!

9 comments

  • Megan Williams

    Thank you Letty! if i want to can this, should i make the syrup and add all but the rhubarb, then add when canning? I boil jars about 20 minutes here at altitude…Thanks, want to save this wonderful treat for winter!!! Reply · 27 June, 2016

    • Megan, that’s a perfect solution! Let me know how the rhubarb keeps shape. I want to can some of this chutney too, but might not get to it. I just stashed a few jars in the freezer to enjoy later! Reply · 27 June, 2016

  • Love Rhubarb and love this chutney! If I can find some rhubarb, I’ll be giving it a try. Thanks! Reply · 27 June, 2016

    • Thanks MJ. Here in the mountains rhubarb is coming on strong, but may be over in warmer climes. Reply · 27 June, 2016

  • Laurie O'Neill

    We made this last night during dinner prep. It was very easy and really delicious. I was skeptical about cooking for only 4 minutes, but the texture was great. Thank you! Reply · 22 June, 2017

    • Thank you Laurie. I’m glad you trusted the time. It gets mushy if cooked too long. Reply · 22 June, 2017

  • Peter Goode

    First attempt at making chutney and this was a huge winner. Very flavourful! Reply · 18 June, 2023

    • Thank you Peter. I so happy you like the chutney! Reply · 19 June, 2023

  • Sarah: This Rhubarb Cranberry Honey Chutney recipe is absolutely delicious! The combination of ginger, red wine vinegar, and honey creates a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. It’s the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes. Can’t wait to make it again! Reply · 4 weeks ago

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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