If the idea of homemade condiments has you a little intimidated, chutney makes for a very good starting place. Once your fruits and vegetables are chopped, you simply toss them in a wide, nonreactive pan and cook. This small batch takes about 45 minutes over medium heat to cook down into a thick, slightly sticky, spreadable condiment. Paired with a log of goat cheese and a packet of good crackers, it’s my go-to contribution to casual parties and potlucks.
1 pound rhubarb, sliced
1 small onion, minced
3/4 cup currants
1½ cups brown sugar
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 3 half-pint jars. Place three lids into a small pan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Combine all ingredients in a wide, nonreactive pan, place it over high heat, and bring to a boil. Once it bubbles, reduce heat to medium and simmer gently, stirring regularly, until slightly thickened.
As the chutney gets closer to done, make sure to stir every minute or so to prevent scorching. You’ll know the chutney is finished cooking when you can pull your spoon through the chutney and the space you’ve created doesn’t fill in immediately.
Funnel chutney into prepared half-pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 10 minutes.
Note: Another good way to determine whether the chutney is done is a method popular in vintage canning books. You scoop a small spoonful out of the pot and watch how it behaves in the bowl of the spoon. If it runs to the edges, it’s not there yet. However, if it sits in a high mound, it is done.
Adapted from Marisa McClellan’s new book Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces (Running Press).