As a kid, I hated cranberry sauce. I exaggerate not. Actually, my mom was about the only one who did like it, so we had it only on Thanksgiving. It was always the same. You know, jelled, straight from the can, complete with can impressions. And I know exactly why I didn’t like it. It was too cranberryie. Hey, I said I knew why I didn’t like it, not that it made sense.
The first time I had cranberry sauce that actually look like cranberries, I liked it. I was having Thanksgiving at a boyfriend’s house, and his grandfather made cranberry relish. Being polite, I tried some. From then on, I have loved cranberry sauce, relish, whatever you call it—as long as it uses whole cranberries. Once the packages of cranberries hit the produce department, I stock up so I have cranberries available year-round. When I saw them at the supermarket yesterday, I may have done a happy dance.
I took cranberries from my freezer and set out to find something a little different to have with Thanksgiving this year. I pulled out my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, because I knew I wanted something I could can.
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I’ve been on a chutney kick, so I checked out the recipe for Cranberry Chutney. It’s perfect for what I have in mind. Better yet, I already had most of the ingredients on hand.
Word of warning. This is probably not something you want to make Thanksgiving morning. It does take a fair amount of chopping and prep work. The best news is that you can make it days ahead. In my case, weeks. I canned mine, but it can be frozen. Trust me: it’s worth the effort.
You’ll need cranberries, onions, candied pineapple, garlic, gingerroot, an orange or 2 (depending on size), red wine vinegar, sugar, golden raisins, water, dry mustard, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and cayenne pepper. That may seem like an odd combination, but if you’re familiar with chutneys, it’s fairly standard. I couldn’t find candied pineapple, but I did have a fresh one. I dehydrated it and used that. I didn’t have ground cloves, so I used nutmeg. Tastes fine to me.
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Besides turkey, this chutney tastes good on cheese. Put a dab or 2 of chevre or cream cheese on a cracker or piece of cocktail bread and top with some cranberry chutney as a starter for Thanksgiving dinner. I eat a lot of chicken and am always looking for ways to make it different. This is tasty as a condiment with chicken.
Make your Thanksgiving dinner a bit different this year. Try cranberry chutney.