Here’s a colorful and absolutely delicious chutney for the holiday season. This “Spicy Christmas Chutney” is hard to stop eating once you open a jar of this pungent and hot concoction. The recipe is a sweet and sour chutney which combines Louisiana satsumas, cranberries and apples with a blend of spices for a powerful mix. I ran across the recipe inspiration on a Scottish internet site — didn’t know that the Scottish cooked with satsumas or made chutneys with this much punch — but it is a great recipe for me because it is a way to use my backyard satsumas. And the recipe is mighty spicy, too, including cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper. Yeah, we’re talking Louisiana, now.
The cranberries in the recipe add to the colorful appearance of this chutney. So, I’m making this very easy recipe for small, Christmas gifts–and canning the small jars to preserve them properly.
The chutney is delicious, but just a note of caution. The sweet and sour nature of the chutney plus the spices makes this chutney very potent. I served “Spicy Christmas Chutney” with cream cheese to tone it down just a bit. As well as an appetizer, the chutney also goes well with turkey and other meats.
What is Chutney?
Chutney is a condiment or relish-type sauce that originated on the Indian subcontinent. The condiment is spicy, sweet and can contain a variety of fruits and vegetables along with an array of spices such as ginger. There are numerous Indian versions of this condiment which can be raw or cooked — ground or chopped. Chutneys traditionally were served as dips, sauces and side dishes at any meal and were used to complement the components of the meal such as the meat. Early British trading companies brought chutneys from the East Indies to Europe, and the English began making chutneys probably beginning the 17th century using native fruit from their orchards. English chutneys also contained vinegar for longer preservation and usually contained tart fruit such as apples, rhubarb and plums as well as raisins, currants and sultanas along with spices, tamarind and onions for seasonings. English and American chutneys were usually cooked down as a reduction on the stove, containing both vinegar and sugar.
My original idea for this blog post was to make kumquat chutney using the kumquats from my mother-in-law’s tree. However, her kumquat tree didn’t produce fruit this year. Without kumquats, my alternate plan was to make chutney using satsumas from my own backyard tree. Usually I have a recipe in mind, but this time I searched the internet. I found many recipes for citrus-type chutneys; however, most were rather complicated. Eventually, I found a Scottish site with a cranberry and satsuma chutney recipe. (Refer to references for source.) The recipe was so simple — just chop up the fruit and onion, add all the ingredients to a large pot and let the pot simmer on the stove for an hour until thick and aromatic. So simple, let’s make it.
Oops, the ingredients were all in metric measurements. Using high school math — yikes, that was a long time ago — I converted the metric ingredient quantities to our system of pounds and ounces; cups and tablespoons. (Now, how many cups are 400 grams of sugar?) In the process, I am sure that I changed some of the proportions. Plus, I tweaked some of the ingredients. Now, it is a different recipe. Anyway, the results are just fine and the chutney tastes great!
The recipe uses cranberries, satsumas, apples and an onion. Onion? Yes, onion. Although onion seems out of place in this recipe, the taste complemented the fruit vey well. Don’t have satsumas? You can substitute clementine fruit or tangerines. In addition, the recipe included a potent mixture of ground spices — cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cayenne (red) pepper. No need to add whole spices which you somehow had to later retrieve from the mash. This added to the simplicity of the recipe.
Making the Recipe
To make the recipe, peel and chop the apples. Chop up the onion. Zest the satsumas and then seed and chop the pulp. Fortunately, satsumas have very few seeds. Add in a little satsuma juice if some spills out.
Add all the ingredients and spices to a large, heavy pot. My Dutch oven worked great for this. Simmer away for an hour until you have a thickened mash. Finish things off by filling small, sterilized canning jars with the chutney.
To preserve the chutney making it shelf-stable, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to seal the jars. Otherwise, skip the processing step and store the jars in your refrigerator.
I used some of my favorite handy kitchen gadgets (a good gift for the cook who has everything) to add sterile seals and rings and transfer to a boiling water bath of canner without burning myself.
After processing for 10 minutes in a boiling water, let set on the kitchen counter to cool. Check to make sure the seals are sealed — they will “pop.” If not sealed properly, store in a refrigerator.
And here’s a holiday gift for the cook who already has several Instant-Pots. Get them an old-fashioned canner. These things last forever.
The chutney jars clarified after sitting overnight. They make beautiful, tasty Christmas gifts. This is a very, very easy recipe. And the chutney is delicious — nothing like you’ve ever eaten. And, I have a new way to use my backyard satsumas. Enjoy!
Spicy Christmas Chutney with Satsumas, Cranberries & Apples
- 4 large cooking apples ( 5 cups chopped) or about 1-1/2 as purchased
- 1 small white onion (or 1/2 large onion, 1 cup chopped)
- 4 satsumas, clementine fruit or tangerines (2 cup seeded, chopped pulp plus zested rinds of 2 satsumas)
- 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Method and Steps:
- Prepare the canning jars. Sterilize 7 to 8 canning jars (1/2 pint jars). Sterilize rings and seals. Set aside and keep hot.
- Prepare fruit and onion: Peel, core and finely chop apples. Peel and coarsely chop onion. Zest the satsumas (or tangerines). Peel the satsumas, remove seeds and chop pulp. Include juice. Wash and rinse cranberries.
- Place prepared apples, onions, satsumas (zest, pulp and juice) and cranberries in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.
- Add sugar, vinegar, water and stir. Add salt and spices — cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cayenne pepper — and stir.
- Bring to a boil on the stove. Then reduce heat, and let simmer, uncovered — just bubbling– for an hour the chutney is thickened, the fruit is soft and reduced in volume.
- Pour into sterilized canning jars. Add seals and rings. Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner, let cool on counter. Check rings to make sure they are sealed. If not, store jars in refrigerator.