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Pear-ginger chutney is a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving table, or a lovely hostess gift if you’re heading to a friend’s house for dinner.  I made a batch a few weeks ago and it couldn’t have been easier; the pears are the star, enhanced by the acid of the vinegar and brightened by a subtle ginger bite.  As with many of my canning projects, I made chutney because I had an abundance of ripe fruit and couldn’t eat it fresh fast enough, and in this case I didn’t want to bake with the pears either.  I have close to a dozen jars of pear butter in the cupboard already, so I was looking for something more on the savory track, and this particular recipe caught my eye.  I made enough to can but you really don’t have to do that; a single recipe would keep for a while in the refrigerator.  If you do make some for Thanksgiving, don’t forget to save a little to put on your day-after turkey sandwich.  Yum.

Pear-Ginger Chutney inspired by Belle Jar Canning

  • 4 lbs. ripe Bartlett pears, cored and chopped into 1/2″ pieces*
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 3 T. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients except cardamom and salt into a stock pot or enameled cast iron pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; lower heat and simmer until mixture thickens.  This can take anywhere from 60-90 minutes; watch the pot carefully, stirring often to prevent burning, and lowering the heat when necessary.  When the chutney has cooked down to a desirable consistency (it should look jam-like), add cardamom and salt.  Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; ladle immediately into sterilized jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Or, cool slightly and transfer into an airtight container.  The chutney will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

If possible, make ahead; the flavors mellow and develop and taste best after 5-7 days.

*Bartlett pears can be left unpeeled because the skins are thin.  Other varieties, particularly Bosc, should be peeled.