Hello everyone! Wow, it’s been a looong time since I have posted on this blog. My apologies to all of you who check in here frequently to see what’s going on. In fact, quite a lot has been going on, I’ve just not been getting around to sharing it with you. Here’s a quick rundown…
My son graduated from high school J, my daughter got married J (so now I have a bonus son JJ), 2 friends have had babies, I have started teaching sewing and crochet classes at a local fabric store, and as of a week ago I started converting the now empty bedroom into a sewing/crafting room. Whew. This week I am hoping to complete the transformation by moving all my fabric and yarn into the sewing room (although I have a LOT of fabric and I’m sure bets are being taken on this one) and getting my weaving loom out of the garage and cleaned up so I can use it again (for the 1st time in probably 15 years). In about 3 weeks my son will be heading off to college and I’ll have another empty bedroom. That one is going to be my guest room/office. Kinda weird that all in one summer both kids are leaving and I’ll suddenly have the house all to myself. And I’ll always know where the TV remotes are. I’m excited to see this next season in their lives as young adults and where it’s going to take them. I’m also equally excited about this next season in my life and what Father has planned for me.
Now that you are all in the loop, let me show you how to make this
Saturday was a good day for probiotics at my house. I have been learning more about traditionally fermented foods and how amazingly healthful they are. So far I have made sour pickles, water kefir, krauts, and chutneys. On Saturday I started a new batch of water kefir, some Apple Cherry Pecan Chutney, and some kraut. I even remembered to take pictures so I can show you all how easy it is to make. The chutney was ready today so I thought I would share it with you now. This made almost 3 quarts for me because I like big chunks of fruit. The smaller the pieces, the less room they take up in the jars.
Just a note before we get started. This chutney is fermented and uses a starter culture to get the process going. You don’t have to make this as a ferment, you can just make it and put it in the fridge right away. If you want to do that only use half the amount of sugar and only add enough water to get all the spices distributed evenly. It won’t keep as long and won’t have any probiotic benefits for you, but it will still be really yummy!
Apple Cherry Pecan Chutney
- 6 cups coarsely chopped apples-I used 3 large Red Delicious
- 2 cups pitted and quartered sweet cherries
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup whey* or other started culture-I used some grape water kefir** that I had in the fridge
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup natural sweetener-I use dehydrated sugar cane juice but you can use any natural sweetener other than honey***
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
* The whey here is what is left over after making cheese, not the stuff you get in powder form at the health food store
** Directions for water kefir are coming soon
*** Because honey has anti-bacterial properties, it inhibits the fermentation process
Wash, quarter and core the apples. Then chop them coarsely.
Put the apples into a large mixing bowl. As you chop the apples toss them in the lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Next, wash, pit, and quarter the sweet cherries and add them to the apples.
Now for the pecans. I only used 1 cup because I am almost out of pecans and I use them in a lot of things. Hopefully those pesky squirrels at my parents house have left some for us..
Mix all the rest of the ingredients into the fruit mixture. Transfer to a clean jar or jars. Pack down so all ingredients are submerged and at least 1 inch from the top of the jar. Add more water if necessary. Cover tightly.
If you are using canning jars, the rings and lids work just great. If you are using another kind of jar cover the top with plastic wrap before putting the lid on. I used a gallon jar to ferment my chutney because I didn’t have enough quart jars that were clean at the time. In order to keep everything submerged in a quart jar I usually add a small mouth jar lid on the top of the ferment and press it down. That usually works pretty well. However, for this jar I used a gallon baggie filled with water and just put it into the top of the jar. While the baggie probably sealed it pretty well too, I still put plastic wrap over the top before I put the lid on the jar. The weird color at the top is where some of the liquid migrated up between the baggie and the jar. You need to let this sit out at room temperature for two or three days. I put mine on top of the fridge so it’s out of the way, but I can still see it. Still seeing ferments is a very, very good thing…Check the chutney daily for any mold growing on the surface and if there is just skim it off. Everything below the level of the liquid will be just fine. If the weather is very warm, fermentation may only take a day. Burp the jar periodically to release the gasses from the fermentation process. Please, please, please remember to do this. Remember what happens when you don’t burp a baby? Yup. Just like that. Just trust me on this…
There will be bubbles in the jar when you open it. Kinda like this:
This is looking straight down into the top of the jar. Sadly, I have no natural light in my kitchen, so my pictures don’t always turn out very nice.
Taste it when you burp the jar and when it has reached a taste and texture you like, move it to cold storage or your refrigerator. The longer it ferments the softer the fruit will be and the less sweet it will become. This ferment will only keep for two to three weeks. After spooning some out of the jar, make sure you repack it by pressing what’s left back under the liquid.
Because a lot of the sugar is used during the fermentation process, this is not overly sweet. I eat it just by itself, but I think it would be good with yogurt or as a topping for pancakes or waffles. Or maybe as a side with some grilled or roasted meat. If you want to sweeten it up a little to use for dessert, drizzle with some raw honey or grade B maple syrup. Or maybe even go a little bit crazy and put it on ice cream…
How would you eat this yummy chutney? Reply below and let us know!