CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Preserve bounty of autumn fruit in chutneys



Looking for something new, exciting and festive for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner?

How about chutney?

A spiced fruit condiment whose origin food historians have traced back to 500 BC in India, chutneys were an early form of food preservation adopted by the Romans. The sauces later travelled to the British Empire, where the Brits added vinegar to the mix to increase the shelf life.

The most famous British chutney is Major Grey’s, considered to be the “gold standard.” Reputedly created in the 19th century by Major Grey, who lived in British India, this chutney’s primary ingredients are mango, raisins, vinegar, lime juice, onion and tamarind (occasionally), sweetening and spices.

In my home kitchen, chutneys are a creative and tasty method to conserve the bounty of autumn fruit like cranberries, apples, wild blueberries and pears. Sweet, spicy or pungent, chutneys turn plain foods like roast turkey, chicken, pork, even tofu into a memorable meal. Relatively easy to prepare, supermarket friendly with not-hard-to-find ingredients, chutneys are best made several days ahead so the flavors have time to mingle and mellow.

Although chutneys had not yet arrived at the New World in 1621 for the first Thanksgiving feast, (neither had forks), wild blueberries and cranberries were in abundance. The traditional turkey also was not on the original menu that included venison, lobster, duck, clams, pumpkin and squash.

The native cranberry and wild blueberry are the foundation for this Wild Blueberry Cranberry Chutney recipe, developed by the food service workers of the Newport, Vt., school system. In the Newport city schools, this chutney is served up on a turkey sandwich and as a side for chicken fingers.

We enjoy Wild Blueberry Cranberry Chutney as part of a meat and cheese tray, mixed with chicken salad for a tangy flavor, pureed in a salad dressing, part of a grilled cheese sandwich, over warm brie cheese, as a dipping sauce for egg rolls, and as a glaze for roasted squash.

Forget that jellied cranberry sauce in a can. This is the year to go wild! Make up a batch of Wild Blueberry Cranberry Chutney several days in advance and enjoy two native Maine foods.

Wild Blueberry Cranberry Chutney
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Makes about 3.75 cups (695 grams) or about 15 2-oz. servings.
Wild Blueberry Cranberry Chutney
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Makes about 3.75 cups (695 grams) or about 15 2-oz. servings.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsps. Balsamic vinegar (we enjoy Fiore’s Blackberry Ginger Balsamic)
  • 2 tsps. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy pot. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Let cool and spoon into glass jars. Refrigerate until serving.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional analysis per 2 ounce serving: 54 calories, .3 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, .14 grams fat, 1 mg. sodium, 1.6 g fiber.

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Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.

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