Easy Plopping Away Rhubarb Chutney

Easy Rhubarb Chutney

The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
318 Calories
2g Fat
68g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 318
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1382mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Protein 11g
Calcium 104mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This super-simple rhubarb chutney recipe comes from "The Great Book of Rhubarb" by Elaine Lemm and is based on a recipe which belonged to the mother-in-law of a Yorkshire based foodie, Anne Smith. Read all about her at the end of the recipe.

This is one of the easiest chutney recipes we have come across and literally requires placing it on the stovetop and allowing it to plop away (plopping being the noise it makes as it cooks). You can use outdoor-grown rhubarb for the recipe as the thick stalks cook down really well and have a more robust flavor, but it works very well with new season forced rhubarb resulting in a lighter colored and flavored chutney as well.


  • 5 cups/900 grams rhubarb
  • 5 cups/900 grams sugar
  • 3 cups/450 grams sultanas
  • 1 pint vinegar
  • 1 ounce/25 grams salt
  • 1 ounce/25 grams powdered ginger
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Bring all the above to the boil. Reduce heat.

  2. Let it plop away till thick and dark brown.

  3. Stir now and then.

  4. Pour into clean sterilized jars, put the lid on and store. It has a long store cupboard life.


  • The best way to cook this chutney is in a large non-reactive or stainless steel pan. During cooking, keep an eye on the chutney to make sure it is not burning at the bottom.
  • This amount of chutney takes about an hour to cook and fills 6 one-pound (450 g) jars.
  • The rhubarb chutney will keep for several months in sealed jars kept in a cool place but it is not necessary to put it in the fridge only once it is opened.
  • It is imperative to sterilize jam jars so they are clean and sparkling for the chutney. Unclean jars will reduce the shelf life of the chutney.
  • The best way to serve Plopping Away Rhubarb Chutney is alongside cold meats, cheeses, and pies and a star on the Christmas table; it is especially good with pork pie and a good British cheeseboard.

Who Is Anne Smith?

Ann Smith–keeper of the Plopping Away Rhubarb Chutney recipe–was a real character, known affectionately as Miss Marples for her direct manner and keep-out-the-rain tweed hat! She was a really canny Yorkshire homemaker as well as an all-around great mom and grandmother. This recipe has traveled happily through generations of the Smith Family, with her granddaughters Annabel and Abigail carrying on the annual tradition of making rhubarb chutney by following the lovely handwritten, now rather sticky, recipe card instructions! Her son Mike is an honored sharer of the chutney making team. She looks forward each year to using the rhubarb that was transferred from one garden to another, keeping the deemed-to-be-circa-100-year-old rhubarb on the go, and keeping the store cupboard topped up with chutney.

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