CHUTNEY: Spice up the holidays

I WAS RAISED IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA EATING A BASIC, BLAND DIET. When I moved to Rochester about 20 years ago, a doctor’s wife told me about using chutney to flavor meat. Not knowing what chutney was, I simply nodded, smiled and agreed with her exotic palate.  

A few years ago, after hearing about chutney again and again, I decided to learn more about it and discovered chutney is made of spices, vegetables and fruits. Commonly, chutney is a spiced relish or condiment used in Indian cooking. The holidays are apropos to bring on the spices, so let’s get started.



Last year was my initial experience making chutney. I found a fantastic tomato apple chutney recipe in “Ball® Blue Book Guide To Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration.” The recipe is provided to the right. 

Although tomato season has ended, a variety of fresh local apples are available into late fall. Sekapp Orchard has Connell Red available until Nov. 20, while Honeycrisp, Haralson and Regent are available until Dec. 23. Sekapp also has jams, jellies, barbecue sauce and honey available through Dec. 23, when they close for the season. 

When I made my first round of chutney, I happened to have a dozen 4-ounce glass mason jars on hand which were perfect for canning single servings. They made sweet little gifts to give at the holidays.


This year, I’m feeling more adventurous and am making cranberry apple chutney to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. I’m hoping to get some Wisconsin-grown cranberries and locally grown herbs and garlic to give it that special homegrown flavor. We have a couple of local garlic growers at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, which moves indoors to Olmsted County Fairgrounds Building 35 for the winter (November through April).

This holiday season, I’ll be making more cranberry apple chutney to can and give to family and friends along with locally made cheese and crackers. Friend me on Facebook and you might just get a jar.


Bring it all together with a locally produced wine, beer or cider. Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery offers an American Polygon Rose that pairs well with cheese and spices. For fun, try Four Daughters Loon Juice cider to bring out the apple flavor of the chutney.


Recipe from “Ball® Blue Book Guide To Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration.”
Serve this tasty chutney warmed over baked Brie for an appetizer. Allow a plentiful supply of crackers and apple slices for spreading the Brie.


2 ½ quarts cups chopped, peeled, cored tomatoes (about 12 large) 

1 quart chopped, cored peeled apples (about 5 medium)

2 cups chopped cucumber (1 large)

1 ½ cups chopped onions (about 1 ½ medium)

1 ½ cups chopped sweet red peppers (about 2 medium)

1 cup raisins

3 cups brown sugar

1 red chili pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. ginger

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 cups vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot. Cook slowly until thick, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. 

Ladle hot chutney into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is tight. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


Recipe adapted from


1 cup cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered)

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 red onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup mixed dried fruit, such as currants, golden raisins and chopped prunes

1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger (from one 1 1/2-inch piece)

2 whole cinnamon sticks


12 oz. fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (3 1/2 cups)

Jorrie Johnson is publisher and editor of Rochester Women magazine.