Apple Onion Spicy Chutney

Apple Onion Chutney

I just googled “what is the difference between a jam and a chutney” because I wasn’t sure whether to call this recipe a chutney or a jam.  Turns out, a chutney incorporates sweet, spicy and sour elements and isn’t as smooth as a jam.  So, this IS a recipe for chutney!

Another recipe created out of necessity to get rid of all of the apples from apple picking.  This might be the new hit after Tomato Jam.
It’s spicy, sour and a bit sweet from the apples and caramelized onions.  Perfect with grilled cheese sandwiches, in a tart, slathered on eggs, brushed on tofu, plopped into soup….you get the idea.

After taking a sauce class with Peter Berley, I’ve really been into grinding my spices right before using them in a recipe.  I used our trusty mortar and pestle, but am a big fan of using an out-of-commissioned coffee grinder for large quantities.


Apple Onion Spicy Chutney
Adapted from this recipe.


  • 8 onions, chopped finely
  • 4-5 apples, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (you could probably use all cider, I just didn’t have enough)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons crushed peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

To Do:

  1. Heat up a bit of olive oil in a large pot and add the onions.  Let them cook until softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and bring to a boil.  Stir for about 5 minutes and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Cover pot and walk away.  Come back and give it a stir every 15 minutes or so.  You want everything to become a lovely brown color and cook down – it can take a while.
  4. Taste it.  Do you like it?  Add more spices if you want.  Once you can run a spoon through the mixture and a path forms without liquid filling it up, you’ve got the right consistency.
  5. Pour into jars and can – process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.  You could also pour into jars and put them in the fridge.  They should last for a while because of all of the sugar and acid.

Very Lazy Fall Apple Butter

I love apples.  I try to eat one a day, if not more.  Last weekend, we went up to Stuart’s Farm for a friend’s apple picking birthday party (genius!).  After gathering about 50 pounds of apples with friends and consuming an amazing amount of cider donuts, we came home with 18.5 pounds of apples.  What to do?  First up, Lazy Apple Butter, which used to be featured on my first food blog “Combustication” and is up on the web no longer.  This blast from the past was made by peeling, coring and chopping enough apples to completely fill a crockpot, adding about 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a freshly ground teaspoon of cloves and a cinnamon stick.  Add more or less sugar to your liking and let the crockpot do its thing for about 8 hours on low.  If the apple butter is not dark enough or is still pretty thin, take off the lid and let it cook down on low for about an hour.  Trust your judgement.  If it tastes good and sticks to a spoon, can it!

This is pretty much the recipe and canning tips I followed.  Came out with 1 half-pint, 4 pints, 1-16 oz jar and some left over!  Holiday presents here we come!

Apples in Crockpot

I love how this…

Apple Butter Transformation

Turns to this…

Apple Butter

Then into all of these!!!

Accidental Grape Jelly

We received a few bunches of beautiful looking concord grapes a while back from some friends’ CSA.  Not knowing what to do with them besides munch away, I though to make a grape syrup to use with our counter-top seltzer maker.  I combined the grapes with a cup or so of sugar and a cup or two of water and waited for the magic to happen.


I think I waited too long for aforementioned magic.  When I pressed the grapes through a fine sieve and then transported the contents into a jar for cooling, the next day I found the seal clamped tight.  Laboriously trying to open the jar, I found out that my “syrup” had really turned to grape jelly.  I’m not complaining.  We’ve had some with PB on sandwiches and, even better, using a tablespoon of jam and a tablespoon of peanut butter mixed in with frozen bananas to create a type of vegan “ice-cream”.  Jam all that into a food processor until smooth and then enjoy with a big spoon.  Happy accidents.

Updates and Green Tomato Pickles

OK, we’re gonna try to continue the blog, but we’re going to try something new and probably start it in the month of November.  We might be changing the budget restrictions a bit and focus on creating everything for the month of November from scratch – no processed foods.  Still working out the kinks, but we’ll be back!

In other news, here’s a few of our tomatoes from the garden and a batch of green tomato pickles I made from the garden as well.  The tomato pickle was created from leftover brine from another batch of pickles – boil the brine, fill a jar with thickly cut green tomatoes and top them with the brine.  Seal and eat in a day or two – they last for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but you shouldn’t have them that long.

Fresh Tomatoes

Green Tomato Pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Since we got a small sugar baby watermelon from the Coop the other day, I decided not to waste a single bit and attempted to make Watermelon Rind Pickles.  I used the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, but made it much smaller.

I have no idea how these will taste!

Watermelon Rind Pickles (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)


  • 20 lbs slightly underripe watermelons with thick, firm rinds
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil of cinnamon (I used a cinnamon stick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil of cloves (I used a few cloves)

To Do:

  1. Scrape out all but a thin line of flesh from the watermelon and peel off the outer green skin.  Cut the rind into 1″ wide squares and blanch in boiling water until pieces are tender, but slightly crisp at center.  Do NOT overcook.  Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour syrup over the rind and let sit overnight in the fridge.
  4. The next day, drain the syrup into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Repeat step 3.
  5. On the third day, bring the syrup and rind to a boil.  Using a slotted spoon, place the rind into sterilized canning jars and add the syrup, leaving a 1/2″ headspace.  Add a star anise or two to the pint jar if you want.  Screw on the sterilized lids and rims.
  6. Repeat until you fill all your jars.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Like I said, I haven’t tried these yet, but I had watermelon rind pickles before and they were pretty awesome!  How can you go wrong with The Joy?  Fingers crossed.