Hello fall, full tilt! What beautiful colours abound. Rumor had it the incredibly wet, soggy, dripping weather we’ve had forever was going to end the show on fall this year, and maybe it’s a little less bright than usual, but my eyes are little older too, still beautiful to me. Though, I do wish for a solid week of sun .
Fall means Apples and Pears and Cranberries, oh my! (and Pomegranates, if you’re somewhere other than here). I taught a class last Sunday to a wonderful group of people, we made Pear Ginger Chutney and did canning 101. I advertised this class waaay in advance, knowing pears would be in, peaches out, and mulled over a recipe for a good too-long-of-a-while and finally made it (up) last week, 5 days before the class. I went 50 minutes north west of me to find NYS locally grown Bartlet pears, since I tend to leave skins on fruit, Bartlet and D’Anjou were my first choice, and knew they had to be grown somewhere in the Hudson Valley.
With colder weather upon us, soul and body warming foods call to us. I have always loved the little dishes of chutneys that come with Indian food, and therefore always associated it with only Indian food. I now know better. This Pear chutney is wonderful on many things, stews, rice dishes, roasted veggies, winter squashes all lend themselves to heaping spoons full of it. I’ve put it in morning yoghurt too. I consider a chutney sort of in the middle of a jam and a relish. It has components of both, therefore can be used as both.
Yes, there a few air bubbles in these jars, I admit the light was so beautiful I used them just a few minutes out of the canning pot. Not what we’re supposed to do with freshly processed jars!
If you decide to make a double batch, do it in two pots, as I did in the photo. Doubling is never recommended with anything, chutney can take an hour or more to cook down and thicken, if doubled it will take longer and the chances of it burning are greater.
Crystallized ginger adds an additional zing and chew to this. If you can’t source currants, use raisins or dried cranberries.
Pear Ginger Chutney
5 Lbs Bartlett Pears (or mix them up, peel Bosc Pears), cored, seeded and chopped in small chunks
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
1 small Chili Pepper (or 1/2 tsp dried flake chili), minced
1 1/2 cups organic Light Brown Sugar, or Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Maple Sugar
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Currants
2 Tbsp. grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped Crystallized Ginger, minced
1 tsp. Cardamom Seeds (taken out of pods), or ground cardamom
1 tsp. Sea Salt
Add all ingredients except salt and cardamom to a deep, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Chutney can take from and hour to an hour and a half to cook down and thicken. Continue to stir, lowering heat when necessary. When the chutney has cooked down, add cardamom and salt. Continue a slow boil until it is thick, almost like jam, but still has some vinegar liquid.
Ladle into prepared jars, tap them on the counter to dispel air bubbles, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims of jars, put on prepared lids and rings and process for 10 minutes in prepared canner. Turn heat off, leave lid on and let rest 5 minutes more, this help insure a good seal.
Place jars on a dishtowel and leave undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then test for seal, remove rings and wipe jars down. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
Let this chutney rest for a week, if you can, before opening. This gives the flavors a chance to meld.