We enjoyed this tangy, flavorful chutney while picnicing in the park at Kensico Dam on July 3rd, listening to the Westchester Philharmonic and enjoying, in succession, a rainbow, a nearly full moon rising, and fireworks. As if the non-rainy weather, good company, and music were not enough, we also enjoyed Curried Apple Chutney, Flageolet and Roasted Garlic Spread, sugar snap peas from Alison’s CSA as well as some carrots, hummus, salsa, tortilla chips, and crackers. Quite the feast, rounded out by two local wines: a blueberry wine from a local vineyard, and a Cabernet Franc from Jones Family Farm vineyards.
Quite the lovely night, so next time you have an evening of picnicing planned, consider making this chutney; I must say it goes excellently with crisp green apples, sharp cheddar, and fireworks!
Adapted from Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney in the Ball Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine
Sweet Cherry Chutney
- 1 cup red wine vinegar (or white wine, cider or white vinegar)
- 5 and 1/4 lbs pitted sweet black cherries (10 cups coarsely chopped)
- 1 lb apples (about 2 large), cored, peeled and chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped red onion
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 heaping tsp whole allspice
- 3 cinnamon sticks (2 inches each), each broken in half
- 1 scant cup honey
- 1 and 1/2 cups raisins
- If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Add vinegar to a large, non-reactive stockpot. A few pulses in a food processor works well to coarsely chop the cherries; as you chop them, add to the stockpot and toss with the vinegar to prevent browning. Chop the apples and add to the stockpot, tossing with cherry/vinegar mixture.
- Tie allspice and cinnamon sticks into a cheesecloth bundle. Add spice bundle, onions, garlic and salt to the stockpot; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Boil hard, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and just begins to spit when you scrape a spoon against the bottom of the pan. Add honey and stir to combine. Lower heat and cook at a lively simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 25 – 30 minutes. Add raisins and return to a boil. Remove spice bag and lower heat to the lowest possible simmer to keep warm while filling canning jars (if not canning, remove from heat and store, refrigerated, in glass containers).
- Fill sterilized jars to 1/2-inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 5 pints.
- The original recipe called for 1 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed.
- The original recipe suggests “tart or sweet cherries” and I’m sure sour cherries would work as well; if using sour cherries, you may want to up the sugar or honey by about 1/2 cup.
- I mistakenly added the raisins at the very beginning, with all the other ingredients. To compensate, I added an additional 1/2 cup raisins (for a total of 2 cups), and another tablespoon of vinegar (to offset the non-acidic fruit), at the very end. I’m sure you are better at following a recipe!
- The raisins in this recipe make it difficult to make this completely local, and somehow it seems, raisins are a necessity in many good chutney recipes; if you are lucky enough to find local raisins, or have a vineyard to dry your own grapes, you can substitute dried spicebush berries for the allspice & cinnamon for a completely local chutney.
If canned, store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If refrigerated, use within 3 months.