As Snoopy (Damon) said, the word of the day (or rather the weekend) is “apples.” I picked up a bushel of apples this week from a local farm, and I’ve been in the kitchen all day today and yesterday preserving the bounty, and as an added bonus, filling the house with warmth and apple-scented goodness!
Already completed are 17 pints of apple sauce, 14 8-ounce jars of chutney, and the apple butter is still bubbling along as I write this, getting thicker and richer with every passing moment.
And how easy is all this? First off, canning itself is not hard, but you need to know how to do it properly. For general canning instructions (and recipes, resources, etc.), click here. For those of you who have already canned in the past, for the apple sauce, peel and chop your apples to fill a big pot, cook over medium low till the apples are mushy (technical term, there). Use a potato masher or immersion blender to make the sauce smooth, then process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes (for pint jars).
For the apple butter, I filled my slow cooker with apple sauce, added a cinnamon stick, and am currently cooking the heck out of it, until it is rich and dark. Process in water bath canner 5 – 10 minutes. Nope, no sugar. Nope, no pectin. I’m actually surprised at how many apple canning recipes call for pectin—especially since apples naturally contain a large amount of pectin. Huh.
But the real jewel in the crown of this year’s preserving festivities was the chutney. Oh so good, so simple, so richly flavored… so many future variations already seeding themselves in my brain. We enjoyed this last night on veggie burgers, but I think this is going to be a constant condiment on our table—sweet, savory, spicy, tangy, and deeeeelish.
Future variations? I could have done with this being a little hotter, so I might add more hot pepper or red pepper flakes next time. Different sorts of dried fruit: apricot, mango, etc. Some diced sweet bell pepper might be nice. Alternative vinegars? You get the idea.
Curried Apple Chutney
- 4 to 4 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and diced
- 3 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
- 10 oz. (1 1/4 pound) raisins
- 3 c. brown sugar
- 2 to 3 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 t. sea salt
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 2 small hot red peppers, finely chopped
- 4 t. sweet curry powder (good quality, like Penzeys)
- 2 T. dijon mustard
Set slow cooker to high. Place all ingredients in slow cooker—this may need to be strategic, as it just filled to overflowing my 4-quart crockpot, and it took some pushing, stirring, and cooking-down for me to get all of it in there 🙂
Cook covered for 3 hours or so, till apples and all are well softened. Once they are soft, use a potato masher to start breaking up the chunks and giving you that chutney consistency. How chunky you leave it is entirely a matter of taste—I like some chunks in mine, as you can see in the pictures.
Once your chutney is the consistency and flavor you desire, process in 8-ounce jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Make sure the lids all pop down (showing a good seal) and label and date your jars. And… enjoy.
Yield: about 14 cups.