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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Apples + Cranberries = Fall Flavour

When we received our CSA share this week, we found little mangled Macintosh apples at the bottom of our box. A bit bruised and draped with dirt from the other tenants of the half share box this week. These little globes were not shiny and gorgeous like their Whole Food brethren. While they were too damaged to eat out of hand, they might do quite well transformed into a luscious crisp or a spicy chutney.

And truth be known, I had apple chutney on the brain ever since I sampled a bite at the farmer's market table several weeks back. Gosh, it was heavenly. It was sweet, savoury, tart, and bright. It left me wanting to make my own batch.

Since we had an apple pie sitting on the kitchen counter, an apple crisp might be overkill this week and a spicy, fragrant apple chutney might be a nice little accompaniment for fall meals. Best part of all, apple chutneys aren't fussy. It's a couple of apples, a little tang, some spices, cook for 20 minutes and you're good to go. (Unless you want to can them, but this requires a little more effort and time. Since this is a small batch - it makes a little more than a litre - you can jar a couple and stick them in the fridge to eat them in quick order. Or give it to a friend who will appreciate the fruits of your labour.)

I had two ginger gold apples (my personal favourite - the ginger gold is a tart and crisp with a slight hint of ginger warmth) sitting in the crisper. I threw them in to add extra body since Macs transform into something more jammy and luscious. But use the apples you have and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Once done, I packed the chutney in lovely gleaming glass mason jars, but I didn't process them so they went straight into the fridge once cooled.

4 small macintosh apples (use what you have and adjust the spice proportions)
2 ginger gold apples
1/2 c onion minced finely
1 c dried cranberries
1 c fresh cranberries
1/2c brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 c orange juice
1/2c white wine vinegar
ginger (thumb size piece)

1. Peel and cut apples into medium sized dice. Cut the onion into a smaller dice (or whiz onion in your food processor)
2. In a medium sized saucepan, add apples, onions, cranberries, brown sugar, orange juice, and vinegar. Bring to a steady simmer over medium heat.
3. Meanwhile grate ginger over a ceramic grater and add to chutney.
4. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. The apples will be jammy and sticky but should still be chunky.

Serve with crackers or as a side to turkey.

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