Apple Rhubarb Chutney with Fennel & Cardamom

Yet another in the long line of apple recipes, I know, but this one is a definite keeper.  This chutney is delicious, and that comes from someone who doesn’t like cooked apples. Not even apple pie, apple butter, applesauce or apple jam.  Nope, I only seem to like apple chutney and I think I’ve found my new favorite: apple rhubarb chutney with fennel & cardamom.

The sweetness of apples, the tang of rhubarb, the licoricey bite of fennel and the subtle, exotic flavor of cardamom all come together to make this chutney fantastic.  I’m quite proud of this recipe, actually. Although I am almost never make a recipe as-is, I tend to stick to somewhat conventional flavor combinations; lemon and rosemary, strawberry and rhubard, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves. For this recipe, I decided, after the umpteenth batch of apples-n-cinnamon something or other, that I was sick to death of cinnamon.  I’m so glad I did. The fennel and cardamom were an inspired addition, if I do say so myself, and resulted in a unique and delicious chutney, rather than yet another apples-n-cinnamon preserve. Tai’s first words on tasting this one?  “Don’t give any of this away.”  Try this recipe – you won’t regret it.

Adapted from Apple Rhubarb Chutney in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine


Apple Rhubarb Chutney with Fennel & Cardamom


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 lbs apples (about 3 large), scrubbed, peeled, cored and diced to 1/4-inch (to yield 6 cups)
  • 1 lb rhubarb (fresh or frozen), diced to 1/2-inch (to yield 3 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/4 cup dried minced shallots (or dried onions)
  • 1 small red jalapeno pepper (fresh or frozen), with seeds, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup dried sweet cherries
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Add apple juice, lemon juice and zest, and vinegar to a large stockpot. Add the apples, and toss as you are dicing to prevent browning.  Add sugar, rhubarb, shallots and jalapeno and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes (rhubarb will soften and start to dissolve, and chutney will just start to thicken).
  3. Add dried cherries, fennel and cardamom.  Boil gently, stirring frequently, until chutney is thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 15 minutes.
  4. Ladle hot chutney into  hot, sterilized jars to 1/2-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, affix lids and bands, and process for 10 minutes is a boiling water bath.

Yields about 6 cups.


  1. The original recipe called for three times the sugar (6 cups), water instead of apple juice, dried cranberries instead of cherries, and cinnamon and nutmeg in place of fennel and cardamom. Also I added the dried shallots and jalapeno pepper and increased the acidity with vinegar and lemon.  I kept the apples and rhubarb though…
  2. Do not increase the amount of non-acidic ingredients, for safety in canning. You can increase the amount of apples, or decrease the amount of any of the non-acidic ingredients safely.


Canned, in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.  Refrigerated, use within 2 months.


Fall through spring.


  1. this looks great. and i have so much rhubarb growing around my house that i inevitably end up freezing a bunch in the spring when i am overwhelmed by it.

    i am the same, canned apple things are not my favorite. but a friend gave me a curried apple chutney this year that i really liked so now i’m game to try…:)

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