Like most chutney recipes, this one is pretty simple to prepare. Once you prep your ingredients, it all goes into the preserving pan at the same time, and happily cooks away, without needing too much supervision. The jalapeno pepper gives this chutney a bit of spiciness, but overall it's a complex combination of sweet, savory, and tart too, all at the same time.
--> Please chop ingredients by hand. If you use a food processor, the ingredients will probably end up too small, which results in a finished product that resembles an unappealing mush. You want to be able to recognize the ingredients in your chutney.
Makes ~3 half pints
- 1 12 oz. bag of fresh or frozen whole cranberries (3 cups)
- 1 small onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
- 1 small jalapeno pepper*, seeded and chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (sea) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Be very careful when working with fresh jalapeno peppers. Always wear disposable gloves. Never touch your face when working with hot peppers! I have a small plastic cutting board that I use exclusively for prepping hot chiles. The Capsaicin oils are difficult to remove and you don't want cross-contamination.
1.) Prepare your canning jars; prepare seals according to manufacturer's instructions.
2.) Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan. (In other words, don't use an aluminum, copper, or cast iron pan when cooking with lemon juice &/or vinegar.)
3.) Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Once the cranberries start to pop, you can mash them a bit with the back of a large spoon. Because of the high levels of natural pectin in the cranberries, it will thicken quickly. Total cooking time is only 10-15 minutes. It will continue to thicken after being processed, so remove from heat BEFORE it is the consistency you want.
4.) Once desired thickness has been achieved, remove the preserving pan from the heat then spoon mixture immediately into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. (1" headspace if you are freezing.)
5.) Look for any air bubbles in the jars and if you see any, use a chopstick or plastic knife to pop them, then wipe rims of jars spotlessly clean. I like to use a damp paper towel for wiping rims.
6.) At this point you can cover jars with tight-fitting lids and either:
a.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
b.) Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
c.) Process the jars to create a shelf-stable preserve that won't need refrigeration by following these steps:
7.) Place lids atop jars, then screw on bands until they're fingertip-tight.
8.) Process for 15 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath, then remove jars with a jar-lifter and place on a towel on the counter. Let rest for 24 hours, then check for proper seal before storing.
9.) If jars lids seal, store them in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
Helpful tip: Check lids for a proper seal by pressing the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid stays down, it is sealed and will easily keep for up to one year in a cool dark place. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed. Place unsealed jars in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months, or within one month after opening.