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It’s #canbassador time again. That means I get a big box of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers and head into the kitchen to do some canning. Last year I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canner. It’s not terribly expensive and stacks inside one of my stockpots. I generally can small batches and this time around I decided to make chutney with the help of my pal Alison. She shared the ingredients she would use and I tweaked the proportions.

The first rule of cooking with fruit is you need to taste it. How sweet is it? How juicy is it? That should guide your recipe. Adapt the recipe based on your preferences and the quality of your fruit. My cherries turned out to be very juicy so I added some dried fruit towards the end of the cooking to thicken the mixture. While this chutney has a great sweet and sour flavor, someone in my household actually used it in place of jam on toast. So far I’ve used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and on lamb chops. How you use it is entirely up to you! 

Cherry season is short, but there are so many great ways to preserve the fruit. In past years I’ve made cherry barbecue sauce and cherry vanilla balsamic shrub. When Winter comes, I’ll be making cocktails with bourbon cherries and eating turkey with cherry cranberry chutney…

Cherry Cranberry Chutney

Makes about 5 1/2 pint jars
Ingredients
9 cups pitted cherries
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
2 onion chopped
Zest of two oranges
3 Tablespoons minced ginger
2 heaped teaspoons allspice
1 heaped teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions 
Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. 
Roughly chop the cherries and in a large stockpot combine them with the vinegar, sugar, onion, orange zest, ginger, allspice, garam masala and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until the fruit is cooked and soft about 30-40 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for another 15 minutes. Chutney will thicken further after being processed. 
Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the chutney and the inner surface of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year. 
Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: My thanks to Northwest Cherry Growers for providing me with fruit. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.

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