Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - Cranberry Chutney

I love making:

1) holiday gifts
2) food that has many uses

A few pantry staples and stand-bys, like salsa, fit some of the criteria (condiment, sauce, topping, spread) but cranberry sauce (or in my case, chutney) tops them all. Perfect as a condiment with your Christmas ham, a sweet and tart topping for vanilla ice cream, a spread on your post-holiday turkey sandwich or a sauce alongside a lovely savory dish.

As for making holiday gifts, my love language is FOOD so (naturally) that’s what I love to make and give. Enter (again): Cranberry Chutney. Now, the reason why I call my cranberry concoction a chutney (rather than a sauce) is because my recipe calls for additional fruit and less sugar than jams or traditional cranberry sauce. It’s perfectly tart and sweet. (Besides, chutney sounds fancier.)

And here’s another thing: If you’re on a budget this is a fantastically inexpensive gift to create. For about $1 (or less) for a ½ pint Ball jar and less than $2. for ingredients per jar you can create a yummy, thoughtful, (and frugal) holiday gift. 

You can make this recipe on the stovetop or in a crock pot, depending on how much time you've got on your hands. The crock pot method will take 8 hours but here is very little hands-on work; the stovetop will take less than an hour but you'll have to be more involved with stirring, etc. 

 (all ready for givin'!)

Cranberry Chutney

 ***Triple this recipe to yield enough for five ½ pint jars.***

1 twelve oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 Gala or Fuji apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1 orange (zested, peeled, tough membrane removed, chopped. Reserve zest, orange sections, and extra juice)
1 cup of orange juice
½ - 1 cup of sugar (start with smallest amount and sweeten to taste)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Tip for breaking down the orange:  Zest first, use a mini-grater or microplane for best results. Slice off both ends, and slice off peel while standing orange on end. Cut in quarters; remove pulp from white membrane with hands. 

Crock Pot instructions:
Combine all ingredients in pot.
Stir to mix.
Set to low for 8 hours, stirring about every 1 ½ - 2 hours. 
For the last hour, cover halfway (this will help it thicken a bit) and continue to cook until done.

Stovetop instructions:
Combine all ingredients in large saucepan.
Stir to mix.
Bring to boil. 
Immediately reduce heat to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until cranberries are bursting. (DO NOT let it come to a rolling boil or the sugar will burn the bottom of the pan and your chutney will be ruined.) 

Spoon hot chutney into hot, sterilized glass jars. Wipe edges, place canning lids and tightly screw on bands. Boil in water bath for 20 minutes. (Water must be at least one inch above jars.) Cool on wire racks. Be sure to test jars by pushing down on center of lid to make sure it’s stable, not popping up and down. You should also hear the telltale “ping” from each jar as they cool. If your jars are not sealed properly, refrigerate and consume within one week.

Organically yours,


What is your fave homemade food gift? Share below...  :)