Last weekend we got back from a camping trip and focused our attention on the garden, the chickens and tending to all things outside at our house.
Saturday started out with a bike ride to our farmers’ market, just the boys and me. My husband stayed home to start painting the doors on our new garden ‘shed’ (we enclosed the area underneath our screened in porch earlier this season, creating a much needed new storage space), and I was pleasantly surprised to find our teenager up and game for an outing. Turns out it was the lure of the library that had called to him (having run out of reading material on our camping trip), which was fine by me.
Over the course of the weekend we got the chicken coop completely emptied, cleaned and filled with fresh straw, tidied up an unruly lawn and vegetable beds around the house, tended to plants overwhelmed by weeds in our lower field (we’re still learning what the best format is for us down there) and started the work on digging some big new beds, watered the jungle of tomato plants in the greenhouse (while simultaneously ignoring whether they needed any other attention, as we had no more to give). Scything, composting and more painting figured in there too.
The one job that I got to do from start to finish that gave me the greatest pleasure was jumping on the nearly finished rhubarb to make a batch of Rhubarb Ginger Chutney. There is nothing like the pleasure of seven safely sealed jars of yummy stuff to put away for future enjoyment (and chutney should sit for a while before its flavours can be fully enjoyed).
Rhubarb Ginger Chutney (from Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragan)
This recipe is for 7 to 8 8-oz or 250 ml jars
8 cups rhubarb, cut roughly into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups brown sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup raisins (I used golden)
2/3 cup grated fresh ginger
2 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp dried chili flakes (I used red pepper flakes)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Prepare your jars. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, for 35 to 45 minutes, until thickened.
Remove from the heat. Ladle the chutney into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean. Seal jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.