The holidays are such a festive time of year – travel to see family, visits with friends, and parties galore.
When catching up, I always like to bring a small gift to share. But it can be hard to know just what to bring — and I don’t like to spend time wandering aisles for that perfect something. So a few years back, I decided to make a homemade gift: my favorite chutney. Everyone enjoyed it so much that I now make it every year.
I can make a batch in less than an hour, and then store it in pretty glass jars in the refrigerator. When I need a gift, I pull one out, tie on a ribbon, and it’s ready for on-the-go giving.
It feels good sharing a little something from my home with others. I also like that it’s full of healthy fruits and vegetables. The cranberries, raisins, pears, and onions all have a good dose of fiber, plus they’re full of antioxidants. (Antioxidants help strengthen the immune system and may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.) Ginger can help ease indigestion and nausea. Cinnamon, cloves, and allspice may help reduce inflammation in the body.
Yes, of course — there’s some sugar too — but it’s the holidays, after all!
Dr. Weiss’s Holiday Chutney (Cranberry-Pear-Raisin Chutney)
1 lb cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3 ripe pears (preferably Bosc), peeled and diced
1 large sweet or red onion, chopped fine
½ cup raisins
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp fresh, finely chopped ginger (or 1½ tsp powdered ginger)
¼ tsp allspice
Place all ingredients into a stock pot with a thick bottom so it doesn’t burn. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium for 20 minutes, and then reduce heat to low for 20 more minutes, stirring regularly.
Let cool and then store in jars. Chutney will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen. Makes enough for about 8 jelly-sized jars.
This chutney is wonderful served as a topping for soft cheese on a slice of fresh bread. It’s also a perfect condiment for turkey, chicken, fish, or veggie burgers. It also goes well with plain yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield Greek-style 0% fat).
I hope you’ll enjoy this chutney as much as I do. Do you have a favorite homemade treat you like to give during the holidays, too? I’d love to hear about it!