Cheer up the holidays with chutney

December 5, 2018

Acabashi, Wikimedia Commons
Serve a bowl of chutney along with various cheeses, fruits and crackers for a delicious appetizer, or even at the end of a meal.

I have always loved a good fruit chutney, so tangy-sweet and spicy. It makes an excellent accompaniment to just about any kind of meat, plus it’s very good added to many types of sandwiches. You can use it as a glaze for poultry or as a dipping sauce for crispy egg rolls and tempura. And we have all seen it poured over a brick of cream cheese and served with crackers.


Get creative with chutney, and you can even add your own favorite things to any recipe. Toss in some chopped pecans, or dried cherries or cranberries, perhaps some chopped dried apricots or pears.


My only problem with chutney is that I want to eat it right out of the jar. So far I have been behaving myself. I also have that same problem with corn relish. So many temptations in the food world.


This holiday season, if you feel like inviting chutney to the table, it is my hope you find a recipe here you would like to try. Stay safe, stay warm, and by all means, stay well fed.


Date chutney


1 cinnamon stick


1 teaspoon whole cloves


3 cups pitted dates


3/4 cup malt vinegar


1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar


1 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Place cinnamon and cloves in a small piece of muslin cloth. Tie with kitchen string to form a parcel.


2. Combine dates, vinegar, sugar, salt and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add spice parcel. Cook, stirring, for several minutes, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until dates are soft and mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove and discard spice parcel.

Apple chutney


2 large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped


1/2 cup chopped onion


1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


1/4 cup brown sugar


1 tablespoon grated orange peel


1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger


1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Heat on high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes.


2. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more, to reducef any excess liquid. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Pineapple chutney


1 medium sized pineapple, peeled and chopped (approx 1.5 lbs)


1 onion, chopped


1 tablespoon vegetable oil


2 of your favorite hot peppers, such as jalapeno, seeds, stems and inner membranes removed


1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup water


1 cup white wine vinegar


1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)


3 cilantro leaves, chopped


1 cinnamon stick

1. In a heavy pot, heat oil and add onions and cook until very soft. Add all other ingredients to pot and let simmer on a medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 minutes (stir occasionally).


2. Reduce heat to medium low and leave until chutney comes to a jam-like consistency. Remove cinnamon stick from pot.


3. If you prefer a fine chutney you can use a potato masher (chunkier) or an immersion blender (smoother).


4. Store in a sterile jar with a tight cover. If you want to freeze the chutney, cool mixture, then place into plastic freezer bags. When ready to use, place in the fridge to thaw then you can either reheat or use cold.

Peach chutney


4 quarts peaches (canned or frozen, since fresh ones are scarce right now), finely chopped


3 cups brown sugar


1 cup raisins (I like the golden ones)


1 cup onions, finely chopped


2 tablespoons ground ginger


2 cloves garlic, minced


2 teaspoons salt


1/4 cup whole mustard seeds


2 to 3 hot chile peppers, minced (stems, seeds and membranes removed)


4 cups vinegar (apple cider vinegar works great)

1. Place all ingredients into a large pot with a heavy bottom.  Simmer until thick, about 4 hours (or however long works for the peaches you have chosen). Stir frequently to prevent sticking.


2. If you are planning to water-bath preserve the chutney, ladle hot mixture into hot jars.  Leave 1/4-inch head space.  Place and adjust the lids and rings. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

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