Melon, Apple & Pear Chutney

 Finished chutney is thick but spreadable.  

Finished chutney is thick but spreadable.  

I've had so many requests for the chutney that I serve with the Mini Coconut Popovers and because I love it to much that it is always on hand in my freezer,  I'm hoping you'll enjoy the recipe.

I know that making your own chutney isn't on everyone's bucket list. In fact, it wasn't on mine until I tasted this one at a friend's house.  It had just the right amount of sweetness, tang, spices and soft chunks of fruit that it was a no-brainer that I had to make it. 

I actually find making it rewarding. It is fun to watch the mixture of fruit, sugar and vinegar cook down into a beautiful, glossy relish. (I know, fun is a relative term.)

Making it is time consuming, but most of it is unattended time. Cutting up the melon, apples and pears is easy, because they don't have to be evenly chopped---larger and smaller pieces work fine.  I simply dump all the ingredients into a Dutch oven, turn the heat on to medium high and stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil.  When this happens, I turn the heat down (on my gas stove that is to medium low) so the liquid stays at a very low boil, which is actually a simmer (bubbles breaking above the surface). I then set an alarm and go watch The Americans for an hour. I then stir it again, re-set the alarm for 45 more minutes and hang around the kitchen until the sauce becomes thick and darkens and the fruit is very soft, usually 2 hours total. The first time I made it I cooked it too long. I didn't realize that it continues to thicken when you take it off the stove. It is done when there is still about 1/4 cup loose sauce around the fruit. 

This chutney makes a terrific appetizer spread over goat or blue cheese on crackers or bread rounds. It is also a great addition to a cheese tray. I also serve it any time I make any type of Indian dishes, as well as roast chicken, turkey and pork. It also makes lovely gifts with a card telling the recipients how to use and store it.

Don't be surprised when every time you serve it or give it away, people ask for the recipe. 

 Fruit with Bouquet Garni

Fruit with Bouquet Garni

 Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a simmer.

Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a simmer.

 After 60 minutes the fruit will begin to thicken.

After 60 minutes the fruit will begin to thicken.

 When thick and dark and some syrup remains, mash with a potato masher or fork. Do NOT cook until dry. 

When thick and dark and some syrup remains, mash with a potato masher or fork. Do NOT cook until dry. 

Melon, Apple & Pear Chutney

6 cups cantaloupe or honeydew, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups mixed apples and pears, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup peeled chopped fresh ginger
4½ cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon whole allspice
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (each 2-inches long)

  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy, wide saucepan mix together the fruit, raisins, ginger, sugar and vinegar.  Tie the allspice, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a piece of cheesecloth.  Use a meat pounder or hammer to smash the spices a couple of times to release their flavor while cooking.  Tuck the bag of spices into the fruit.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to a simmer for about 2 hours, until the chutney has thickened and turned darker.  It will get thicker as it cools, so be sure it still has a little liquid.  Don’t cook until dry.  When thick and dark, remove from heat and mash lightly with a fork or potato masher. Discard spice bag. 
  3. Spoon chutney into clean hot jars, cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Chutney can be refrigerated for several weeks or frozen up to 3 months. 

Makes 8 cups.

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