Spicy Cranberry Chutney is the perfect addition to your holiday feast. This super easy recipe cooks in 15 minutes and adds a spicy, tart kick to appetizer platters or as part of the main course.
Cranberries and the winter holiday season go hand in hand. To me, they are quintessentially New England. We’re all used to them as part of our Thanksgiving feast, but I like to have them around through New Years’. I don’t painstakingly string them up with popcorn as garland, I’m not that crafty, however, I love to use them for a pop of tart flavor in other holiday meals and, of course, in a festive drink like this Festive Cranberry Mule.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Plus, cranberries have a lot of health benefits. They are high in antioxidants and low in sugar, with only four grams of natural sugar per cup. (Hence, their tart flavor and also the reason many people just don’t like them.) Cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections, help improve digestion, help prevent gum disease, and can help give your immune system a boost.
How To Select Fresh Cranberries
Cranberries have a short season— just September through December. Most of the time you’ll find them in 12-ounce packages at the grocery store. To select a bag of good ones, look for berries that are shiny and plump with a deep red color. The deeper the color, the more highly concentrated the beneficial compounds are. Fun fact, truly fresh cranberries are very firm to the touch and will bounce if you drop them.
Tips for Storing Fresh Cranberries
The cool thing is that you can store fresh ripe cranberries in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag for up to 20 days. Just be sure before storing them to pick out any soft, discolored, or shriveled ones, because if one starts decaying, it will quickly spread to the rest.
You can easily freeze whole cranberries. Just wash, dry, spread out on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen, transfer the cranberries to an airtight container and store them in the freezer. Frozen cranberries can keep up to one year! Once thawed, frozen berries will be quite soft, and should be used immediately.
I say embrace their tartness. Don’t cover it up with a ton of sugar. That’s the deal with this recipe. It’s tart and spicy meant to balance hearty roasts or savory, earthy cheeses. I definitely suggest serving it over room temperature camembert or brie cheese with toasted baguette slices or alongside a rosemary-crusted pork roast.
Spicy Cranberry Chutney
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion minced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 12 oz. fresh whole cranberries
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- Salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Sauté the onion and garlic until onions become translucent.
- Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes and grated ginger. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the cranberries, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Cover. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture cook, stirring occasionally until cranberries have burst, and no liquid remains in the pan, about 15 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
Photos by Renato Ghio