Holiday Chutney



cranberries 2


This should probably be labeled “Tart Super-Fruit Chutney” or “Antioxidant Chutney“.  Some of these tart fruits are not available right now unless you happen to have frozen them or dried them, but this gets our juices flowing for ways to use this northerly bounty next year.



The cheeriest looking staple to your holiday table.  They are used also medicinally to treat UTI’s—their proanthocyanidin prevents the bacteria from latching to the urinary tract, and studies show evidence that these same proanthocyanidins could help prevent stomach ulcers.  And of course antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties don’t hurt either.






That cheek-puckering savor is great for jellies but also for chutneys, salsas and other sweet-savory condiments.  Often crabapples are just raked into the compost pile because they’re so tart and so tiny, but they are loaded with flavor…not to mention antioxidants, vitamin C and cholesterol-lowering pectin.





One of our local producers grows these and I fell in love with the color.  Like these other astringent fruits it is mostly used in a cooked or processed form like jams, pies, fruit drinks, and liquors. It’s definitely a heavy-hitter in the category of Sour Superheroes: is used to treat arthritis, ulcers, gout, improves sight, helps with recovery from chemotherapy… the list goes on and on.  Read more on the WedMD site.





are native to South America and are closely related to tomatillos.  They’re sweet-tart and are highly snackable by themselves when dried or can be used in sauces, jams, ice cream and other condiments.  Super-food alert: they’re loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotene, anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids and vitamin A.


This could be one powerhouse chutney.




Aronia berries

A.k.a. chokeberries (not to be confused with chokecherries) grow on a hearty little bush that can survive northerly climates.  They have a sour hibiscus-like element which is great in sauces, jams, tea, ice cream and even beer.  It’s another wonder-fruit: packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, is anti-bacterial, helps improve insulin production, and more—read here.

I used Aronia berries for the first time this fall.  They were grown ten miles away and I cooked them fresh into this chutney.  I also left a few in my refrigerator which are shriveling nicely, I may try cooking them soon.


Even if you can’t acquire all of these superheroes at the moment, keep your eye out for them as they become more readily available.


Oh I almost forgot!  This and some of my upcoming recipes are featured in the November/December issue of The IOWAN magazine.  You can buy them at Fareway and Hy-Vee in Iowa, or subscribe online.  They wanted an Iowa-sourced holiday menu, and I added a few twists here and there.



Holiday Chutney

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 30 minutes


In a heavy saucepan, combine and simmer:

12 oz. fresh cranberries

1 apple, diced

1 cup crabapples diced or any tart fruit such as aronia berries, rhubarb, goldenberries or sea buckthorn berries

2 Tablespoon cider vinegar

⅔ cup honey or sugar (or more to taste)

⅓ cup water

1 teaspoon coriander, ground

1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon ginger, ground

pinch nutmeg

pinch black pepper

Taste and adjust seasoning.  May be made many days in advance.

Serve at room temperature.


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