Victorian cooks roasted their meat in huge kitchen fireplaces and enhanced it with homemade sauces concocted from garden staples such as rhubarb. Today’s barbecue chefs can add the same fruity complements to grilled foods as they cook.

Editor’s note: For those of you who have never done any canning or preserving, it’s never too late to start and this easy recipe is a great way to begin. Learn the basics by taking one of numerous canning classes offered throughout the province or by purchasing home-preserving books such as the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving (in which this recipe was first published) or visiting Bernardin’s website at www.homecanning.com/can.

Makes about four 1-pint (500 mL) jars

8 cups chopped rhubarb
3 1/2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped raisins
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
Prepare canner, jars and lids.

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, raisins, onion, vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim. Centre lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.

Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid.Wait 5, minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

This recipe comes from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. Robert Rose Inc., 2006. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

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