I wanted to share the lovely results of yesterday morning's trip to Stone Ridge Orchard with you all - apple rhubarb chutney!
I looooove chutney. It's great with Indian food, on toasted cheese sandwiches with some walnuts, with roast pork, chicken and a million other ways. We tend to stock up on mango chutney whenever we have the good fortune to pass by a Trader Joe's but since we live in the hinterlands now, that's pretty rare. But it's also very easy to make and even tastier and cheaper than anything store bought.
I was planning to make curried apple chutney (which I'd still like to do if I find the time...) until I saw this recipe for apple rhubarb chutney and remembered that we had a big bag of rhubarb from Aunt Maggie's garden in our chest freezer. Rhubarb is such great stuff - I love its tangy, unique taste and smell and it's appealing mix of colors - green and pink and red.
The recipe is simple - mix apples and rhubarb with lemon zest and juice, dried cranberries, spices and a BOATload of sugar and cook it down until it's thick and delicious.
Because of all the sugar, you do need to stir it frequently and watch it to make sure it does not burn or overcook but it's a pretty manageable project that will make you and your family happy all winter and spring.
The recipe below is adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving - I decreased the sugar (the original recipe calls for 4 cups in case you want to follow it), increased the lemon juice, added a touch of salt and a bunch of fresh ginger and some cloves.
Apple Rhubarb Chutney
Makes roughly 4 8-oz jars
* 4 cups diced, peeled, cored apples
* 3-4 cups sugar
* 2 cups diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
* 1/2 cup water
* Zest and juice of 2 lemons
* 1/2 cup dried cranberries
* 2 tsps grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1 tsp ground cloves
* 2 tsps salt
1. In a large stainless steel sauce pan, combine apples, sugar, rhubarb, water and lemon zest and juice. Bring to a hard boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Add cranberries, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Boil gently, stirring frequently, until thick enough to mound on a spoon. While the chutney cooks down, get the water boiling in your canning pot and sterilize your jars, lids and bands.
2. Ladle the hot chutney into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles; wipe the rims clean with a clean, wet rag or paper towel, center the lids on the jars and screw the bands down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.
3. Submerge the jars completely in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes (or your recommended altitude time). Remove the jars from the canner, place on a wire rack or several dishtowels, and allow seals to set and cool for 12-24 hours. Check seals and store any that have not sealed properly in the fridge and use within a week or two. Store the properly sealed jars for up to a year in a cool, dark place.
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