{edible gifts} Escaping Christmas-time Consumerism w/ Apple Chutney

I have tremendously mixed feelings about the gift-giving aspect of Christmas.  Despite my outspoken criticism of the advertisement-driven culture of Christmas, I find myself purchasing gifts for family and friends every year.  Making, rather than buying gifts in the past has made me feel better about myself and the holiday as a whole.  So this year, with an abundance of produce from the farmers market I decided to make apple chutney.  I was also driven by having purchased the book Put Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling, by Sherri Brooks Vinton and was eager for an excuse to try canning. You can read more on the book and her recipes in past posts, she’s popular around here!

Since this was my first time canning, I used Vinton’s book for the chutney recipe, as well as for directions to canning, or as she calls it, the “Boiling Water Method.”  I altered her recipe a little bit, and this is what I ended up making:

2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

6 apples

2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 cups diced onions

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated ginger

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

All of the ingredients are added and kind of left to stew until the apples really start to break down and it all starts to get more chutney-like.  I won’t go in to the details of the canning process, since for me it involved a lot of cursing and numerous near-scaldings.  I am in no way in the position to be telling other people how to can.  I will only say that, despite the huge hassle, I’d willing to try it again, since I’m sure it will be easier now that I have it all figured out.

I was roasting chicken and vegetables as I prepared and canned the chutney.  When the chutney was done I preserved all of it, only to remember that I wanted to eat some of it with the chicken I had just roasted.  So I opened one of the sealed jars and we had some with our dinner.  I really liked the flavors of curry and ginger with the roasted chicken and potatoes.

With this venture I discovered that canning is a huge pain in the ass.  I do have to admit, however, that there is something rewarding about the whole process.  To see a food you have created, packaged neatly in to jars and looking like your own special little product, a certain pride emerges and it all feels worth it in the end.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Tes says:

    I just love homemade stuffs 🙂 your apple chutney jars…they are fabulous 🙂

  2. leslie r says:

    very nice recipe. i look at other cultures which have many kinds of thank you ceremonies and celebrations. This nation or culture as a whole has only Christmas as a way of saying thank you to each other and provides and inspiration , which arguable should not be needed, to share one’s bounty with others.
    there are so many lovely home made , handmade ” commercial ” gifts today too. all sorts or regional markets , fresh markets, where others share their crafts of cheeses and jellies, candles, wools and other things, its just a delight to share in their gifts and enjoy them, too.
    so, In a way, Christmas can give us that opportunity to indulge our desire to share, say thank you and give to others. ( cause some of us may deny that part of us at other times of the year )

  3. Wendy says:

    Rest assured, as with most everything in the kitchen, canning really does get easier each time. On my first attempt I did it without purchasing anything specific for canning and that didn’t go well. I can only imagine what my neighbors thought as they heard me through the thin walls. I relented the next time and picked up a small kit with a few tools and things went better. That being said, I don’t find canning at all enjoyable nor do I find all of the blanching and boiling I do with summer veggies to freeze them for winter fun. For me, it’s one of those things I do to ensure I can eat mostly local all year and to give as inexpensive gifts. I love the end product, but getting there sucks.

  4. Video Recipes says:

    I can’t wait to try this when i get a chance.

  5. Kim M. says:

    You rock! And of course that is why your recipe was picked up for the life: pure and simple blog too!!!

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