Don’t you hate it when fruit goes off before you have a chance to eat it? I feel really guilty when that happens (likely due to the echos of my mother’s voice in my head about wasting food!) So I’m always on the lookout for tasty ways to use fruit, especially when it’s past its prime. Things like muffins, crumbles/crisps, pie, cobbler, jam, syrup (cordial), coulis (aka. fruit sauce) and now… chutney!
Ok this is probably cheating a bit. A quick search on Wikipedia told me that chutney is originally from India and Pakistan, contain spices and vegetables, never raisins, and is served alongside meat. However, here in the UK chutney also contains vinegar or another acid as a preservative, and I swear I’ve seen raisins in there. So please allow me some creative license with this recipe 🙂
I made this chutney with the remainder of a pack of dates that Zak brought me from Kuwait. You might remember I used half of the package to make amazing date bars that changed my opinion of dates completely! For the other half of the package, I wanted a recipe that would let us enjoy the dates over time (not disappear in a weekend like the date bars!). This chutney should keep in the fridge for months and I love eating it with some aged cheddar cheese. The sharpness of the cheddar compliments the mellow-sweetness of the chutney perfectly.
Tip: If you are buying dates, find the pitted kind if you can … I had to pit all of these dates and it was a sticky mess.
Package of yummy dates:
Cranberry Date Chutney
250g. dates (with pits removed), chopped
175ml. cider vinegar
1tsp. ginger root, finely chopped
45g. chopped onion
50g. dried cranberries
7Tb. honey (to taste)
1 small red chili, chopped.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1) Put dried cranberries in a cup, pour over 1/4 c. water to rehydrate, let soak 10 minutes.
2) In a saucepan, add all ingredients, including cranberries. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until thick and opaque (you should no longer see individual dates in liquid, it should have the consistency of a thick fruit jam).
3) Cool. Taste & adjust seasoning (more honey and/or vinegar – it should be slightly tart).
4) Pour into clean jars, and store in the refrigerator. (I sterilized my jars first in boiling water, but am still storing them in the fridge. Once I get over my fear of canning/bottling food, I will tell you more about the other options for storing this chutney!)
Delicious served with sharp cheddar cheese, or as an accompaniment to cold meats.