I love apples. I eat them regularly. I buy big bags of them from my local farmer’s market, and stick them in the fridge, so that i always have some around. Apples are an important part of my snacking regimen.
The problem is that invariably one or two will come loose from the bag and wander around my fridge for a while. Any time that i clean out the fridge i find a few apples just hanging out, usually a little old. Uh, not to imply that i do not clean my fridge weekly! Bi-weekly in fact…
So what do i do with apples that are a little old, maybe soft in parts, but not bad yet?
I make chutney!
Chutney is actually a class of Indian condiments, but to me chutney is a spicy, flavorful way to re-use older fruit. It’s pretty easy to make too.
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds apples (about 6 medium apples)
1 cup of raisins (i used a mix of gold and regular raisins)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
10 large garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1.5 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seed
1.5 tsp gochugaru (or any hot chili powder — red pepper flakes, or even cayenne would do. But use your judgement on how much heat you can take!)
1. Put the vinegar and the sugar in a large pot and boil until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Core the apples and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. You can peel the apples beforehand, or not. Your preference as to whether or not you want to eat the skin. I leave the skin on.
3. Finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger.
4. Mix the apple, onion, garlic, ginger, and raisins in a bowl.
5. Sprinkle on the lemon juice, then add the spices. Mix thoroughly.
6. Dump the apple mixture into the vinegar.
7. Bring to a boil
8. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. You want most of the liquid to have boiled off so that you are left with a thick sauce.
This chutney rocks, and i make it regularly. This time i got 6 half-pint jars of finished chutney that i took to the February Food Swap. I traded all of them, even the one i opened for people to sample.
Chutney is a condiment, meaning that it is an accessory to a meal. A little on the side of a dish is yummy when eaten with a spicy hot curry, or even plain rice.
I like this chutney smeared in a thin layer on a piece of toast and topped with a slice of really sharp cheese.
However, the uses are limitless. Chutney is one of those things that makes other foods better, by adding a little sweetness mixed with tartness and a hint of spice.