Let's face it, one of the best parts of the holidays is the food. Treasured recipes are pulled out and dishes that only get served once a year begin to grace our tables deepen memories. It's like that in my family and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, my mom and I are already planning the menu and making sure it includes many of our favorites. One of those is my Cranberry Chutney.
I can't exactly remember when I started making it but I think the idea of something different began when I heard that vacuum pack slurrrrrp of canned cranberries (you know what I'm talking about) for about the 20th time and decided then and there that something tastier was in order for next year.
This chutney is SO pretty (much more so than the can-shaped store bought kind) and SO good you'll want to make it every year when cranberries are in season. And...it makes the perfect hostess gift! So does the Banana Chutney which I posted about earlier.
Orange Studded Cranberry Chutney
(adapted from The Herbal Pantry, by Emelie Tolley & Christ Mead)
6 cups cranberries (two bags from the market. a bit of overage here which is fine)
1.5 cups unrefined sugar
1 orange, unpeeled, chopped and seeded
1 cup orange juice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
2 vanilla bean pods, split
Place all the ingredients except 2 tablespoons of the sage in a non-aluminum pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat and boil until the berries pop and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoons of sage. Remove vanilla beans and ladle chutney into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly. This chutney can be refrigerated for up to 6 months. To store for up to one year, process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Store in a cool, dark place.
If you're not familiar with canning, head to your local library or bookstore - there are great how-to books out there and, of course, the internet is filled with easy to follow instructions.
This chutney gets better after it sits for a week or two which is why I made mine now for Thanksgiving. And I love love love it on a turkey and stuffing sandwich with lots of mayonnaise and coarse salt. YUM! Annnnnd....it's scrumptious as a topping for cheesecake! Promise!
Make it. Give it. And be sure to keep some for yourself!