I love cranberries and I am always looking for new ways to preserve them for enjoyment all year round. This recipe is adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and from Leda Meredith’s Basic Chutney recipe on Leda’s Urban Homestead. This chutney is spicy and flavorful; the habaneros deliver quite a kick that is balanced nicely with local honey. Serve on a sandwich with turkey & brie, put on a cheese platter with crackers or whole wheat focaccia, or make wild rice salad with rice, chutney, pecans & fresh parsley.
Local Cranberry Chutney
- 1 lb (about 4 cups) organic cranberries (Cranberry Hill), picked over & washed (fresh or frozen)
- 2.5 lb tart apples, peeled, cored, 1/2-inch dice (Blue Jay Orchards)
- 1 medium, organic red onion, about 1.5 cups diced
- 2 heaping tsp chopped garlic, or about 3 large cloves (fresh or frozen)
- 3/4 cup dried apples (Westwind Orchards)
- 3/4 cup dried organic cranberries
- 1 organic green bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice (fresh or frozen)
- 2-4 organic habanero peppers, diced fine (fresh or frozen)*
- 1.5 cup red wine vinegar (if canning, and using homemade vinegar, test for at least 5% acetic acid using a wine titration kit)
- 1 cup water
- 1.5 cup local honey
- 2 tbsp wild ginger, OR 3 tbsp grated fresh ginger, OR 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp un-iodized salt (iodized salt can change the color of canned foods)
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger (optional)
- Combine cranberries, apples, onions, garlic, peppers, dried fruit, fresh or ground ginger, vinegar and water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cranberries soften & burst, about 15 minutes.
- Add honey, salt and crystallized ginger (if using).
- Simmer on low heat, uncovered (or partially covered if the chutney spits), stirring occasionally, until you reach the desired consistency. The chutney will thicken up a bit on cooling. I like a thick & hearty chutney, which takes about 45 min – 1 hr of cooking time.
- Ladle hot chutney into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (see Boiling Water Bath Canning for full instructions).
Yields 4 – 5 pints of chutney.
- Add peppers according to your taste; I use 3-4 habaneros and keep half of the seeds. This gives it a nice, spicy kick, but does not overwhelm the cranberry flavor. If habaneros are too spicy for you, substitute jalapenos or other chile peppers. Remove seeds and ribs to lessen the heat (if desired). I recommend starting with about half of the chiles you think you will want; you can easily add more, but it’s pretty hard to make it less spicy if you overdo it. ALWAYS wear gloves, especially with habaneros; I’ve gotten skin burns on my fingertips even from jalapenos (if you do burn yourself, I swear by Doctor Burt’s Res-Q Ointment by Burt’s Bees – it’s the only thing that seems to help). I chop these in the food processor; if chopping a lot of habaneros at once, open a window, as the capsaicin can sting your eyes and lungs.
- Make this 100% local by omitting the crystallized ginger and sourcing wild ginger in your neighborhood.
This chutney, acidic from the cranberries & apples, should keep well in the refrigerator for a few weeks. If canned in a boiling water bath, use within 1 year.
Cranberries are in season here in the Northeast in the Fall, from October – December. Cranberries freeze very well, so pick up extra in season and freeze them in 1- or 2-cup batches in the freezer for year-round use.
This is a fantastic way to use cranberries. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have generous harvests yearly which means much canning and freezing, jello-molds, and smoothies. I’m always looking for new chutneys so happy to have found your blog.
Thanks, JoAnn! This one is really yummy and also a beautiful color (so many of my chutneys are brown, brown, brown). It is also fabulous as a marinade for baked chicken or turkey; you only need about 30 minutes marinating time because the cranberries are so acidic and it makes for wonderfully succulent chicken.