Melinda Lee’s Fresh Cranberry Chutney

red-63861_640With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share with you a recipe which rocked my sister-in-law’s world.  Let me explain.  Several years ago we had a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house and Sharon (AKA SIL) was new to the family.  This is one of the recipes that I took to dinner.  If you are accustomed to the typical Oceanspray canned cranberry sauce, or worse that jelly looking version (sorry Oceanspray) you are in for a new and exciting culinary experience.
_dsc0169The taste and texture of fresh cranberries, even after cooking is totally different from the canned stuff.  SIL didn’t know that you could buy and cook fresh cranberries — I know she is not alone.  Heck, I was raised on the canned stuff and happened upon the bagged fresh cranberries in the produce department when I moved to the city.  If you’d like to experience the taste and texture of fresh cranberries, this is a good starter recipe.  The mix of spices gives the chutney a nice kick, and it is so good I highly recommend making extra so that you have plenty to eat.  It also makes a great foodie gift.


The finished chutney

Per the recipe, it makes about a quart which is 32 servings — roughly one ounce per serving.  You can put this into Mason jars and refrigerate it where it will keep for up to a year.  It is so great on sandwiches!  By the way, if you make a batch now as I did, you can enjoy some now for Thanksgiving and have it again next month for Christmas.  My one caution is that this recipe is a tad on the pricey side as you add up the cost of ingredients like crystallized ginger, nuts, currants, dates and the various spices.



Melinda Lee is a local cooking show radio host, and I copied this recipe from her website.  She has a variety of recipes for fresh cranberries so if chutney just isn’t your thing I’m sure there is something else you can try.

0e4c5a70e7d90bd4This is a great recipe to give your food processor a workout with.  If you haven’t cooked fresh cranberries before, be aware that they do make a popping noise as they cook.  FYI, I always make this with blanched, slivered almonds which I think are ideal.  I’m not sure I’d really like one of the substitutions.


Here’s an interesting alternative to the traditional cranberry sauce. This chutney must be made a day or more in advance, to allow the flavors to “bloom” – but the good news is that it can be made up to a year ahead, and will keep in the refrigerator or freezer for use as a condiment with other meats or poultry for all that time.

MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART (32 SERVINGS)  Note:  I made 1.5 times the recipe amount in the pot above and was able to fill four 17 ounce canning jars.

4 cups (one pound), cranberries – picked over, washed and dried
2 cups, water
1 cup, sugar
½ cup, cider vinegar
1 medium-size, onion – chopped fine
1 large clove, garlic – minced
1 tablespoon, cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon, allspice
1 teaspoon, salt
1/8 teaspoon, cayenne pepper
1 cup, chopped, pitted dates
1 cup, dried currants
2/3 cup, dark brown sugar (packed measure)
1/2 cup, crystallized ginger – minced [this is one, 4-ounce package, if purchased in a package]
1 cup, slivered, blanched almonds (or chopped pecans, or other nuts)

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cider vinegar, onion, garlic and seasonings listed (through cayenne pepper) not including the cranberries, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries, dates, currants, brown sugar and ginger, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes longer. Stir in the nuts.

Let me know if this recipe is a hit with your holiday dinner guests!

Cool mixture, transfer to a bowl or other container, cover and refrigerate for at least one day to blend flavors. Best served at room temperature.


2 thoughts on “Melinda Lee’s Fresh Cranberry Chutney

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