Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Crafts - Challenge 7 (another one?!)

 Today's Challenge - what do you do with 3 pounds of cranberries & several bags of blackberries? Well, you make chutney, of course!

Bear in mind, when I make jams or jellies, I make a very large batch & this was most certainly the case with the chutney. I felt that if it was going to be as a-may-zing as I envisioned, than I better have enough to share. Plus it can be used as Christmas gifts or hostess gifts when going out to the neighbours' for dinner!!

I have 12 (250ml - that's 1 cup) jars & 12 (125ml) jars cooling on my counter, waiting for a fancy ribbon & a welcoming home.

* 8 cups cranberries
* 8 cups blackberries
* 2 cups finely chopped white onion
* 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 2 shallots, finely chopped
* zest & fruit from 6 mandarin oranges
* 4 Tbsp grated ginger
* 2 cups cider apple vinegar
* 1 cup chopped dates
* 1 cup currants
* 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 cup sugar
* 3 tsp dry mustard
* 2 tsp galangal
* 1 tsp ground black pepper
* 5 tsp ground cardamom
* 1 tsp ground cloves
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 tsp Chinese lemon pepper (sichuan or hua jiao pepper)
* 1 tsp ground sage

Throw it all into a large pot, bring to a low boil & simmer for about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir so it doesn't burn the bottom of your pot! Mash the cranberries & blackberries & let simmer for a few more minutes, til you have the consistency you wish. It will thicken once it cools!

Fill your jars, screw on your lids & process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let the flavours marry for a few days & then start giving away to family & friends!

(I forgot to add some dark spiced rum at jarring time, but you can do so if you wish - or even brandy)
~ spicy-savory cranberry-blackberry chutney ~

OK - you are probably wondering about some of my flavouring selections. I have a lot (A LOT) of Asian spices in my cupboards. I shop at an Asian market a few times a year & can come across some pretty good finds (for example - galangal - it is like a blend of mustard & ginger - awesome). Then I can come across some really bizarre finds that take me a while to figure out what to do with (for example the Chinese lemon pepper - hua jiao - this stuff is not to be messed with as it has an over powering sharp pepper flavour - more like a jalapeno than a black pepper but then again, not quite.... I doubt I'll use it in anything else for a while now that I've thrown some in the chutney!)

The fun thing with chutney is that you can adjust the sweetness or the tangy levels as you go along. A suggestion of a Tbsp of honey when warming it up for eating (yup - warm it up folks!!) will add sweetness & some liquid to smooth it out. I'm going to hit the store for some soft cheese & crackers & enjoy a small jar of this real soon....

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