When we were in Ireland a couple of years ago, I stumbled upon Spoonful Botanicals, an intriguing fermented fruit-and-herb spread. Designed to be anti-inflammatory (and delicious) I was so tempted, but at €30.00 per jar it was way outside of my budget.
After we returned home I kept thinking about it and wishing I had been able to pick up a jar. I did a bit of researched and realized that fermented chutneys are commonplace in India, and searched around for a recipe to experiment with making my own.
Using a Nourishing Traditions raisin chutney recipe as my jumping-off point, I set to work grinding and fermenting aromatics and dried fruit.
Two days later, I cracked the jar, took a taste, and swooned. Oh, yes. This is just what I expected from the boughten, Irish version–and then some. It was spicy, sweet, and exactly what my body craved. I was hooked.
Is it a chutney? A fruity spread? I have no idea. Make a batch, then call it what you will. I won’t lie: it’s not beautiful, but the taste makes up for the appearances. (I promise!)
Why fermented foods?
Lactofermentation provides important probiotics to the digestive system. We make a habit of eating them daily: homemade Beet Kvass, sauerkraut, ginger carrots, and more. This spicy, fruity spread offered one more delicious way to included probiotics in our diet.
Anti-inflammatory Herbal Allies
Lately I’ve been experiencing more joint pain than I’d like. (I suppose any is more than I’d like, but this is quite a bit.) So I’m doing my best to limit inflammatory foods like sugar and refined grains, and to incorporate anti-inflammatory herbs in my diet each day.
A daily dose of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and other allies is already going into in my morning tea, and I drink a shot of tart cherry juice most nights. But adding more anti-inflammatory foods and herbs felt like a smart decision.
This fruity-sweet ferment includes turmeric, pepper, and ginger–warming anti-inflammatories that can help alleviate joint pain. And it’s so delicious that after surprising Lupine with a taste on a bite of whole-grain pancakes yesterday, she dipped into the jar and spread a generous amount on her next helping. “It’s so good that I’m taking more on purpose.”
Ready to whip up a batch? It goes together in a snap and will keep for weeks in the fridge once fermented (if you don’t gobble it up before that.)
Fermented Fruit Chutney Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 Tb ground turmeric (or 3 Tb fresh ground turmeric and 2 Tb ground)
- 1 Tb fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground (fine)
- 3/4 C hot water
- 2″ knob fresh ginger (peel on), grated
- 3/4 C dried dates
- scant 1 1/4 tsp salt (divided)
- Combine raisins, turmeric, black pepper, and fennel in a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl. Avoid plastic or other materials that may stain from turmeric.
- Add 3/4 C very warm water (approximately 100 to 120° F) water and stir to combine. Cover and allow to soak for 1 to three hours.
- Meanwhile, combine fresh, unpeeled ginger with pitted dates plus 1 scant teaspoon salt in the bowl of your food processor. Process until a smooth, sticky paste results.
- After raisin mixture has soaked and raisins have plumped somewhat, transfer the mix along with any remaining soaking liquid to the ginger and date mix in the the processor. Pulse for several minutes until desired consistency is achieved. (I like mine as a spread so it’s fairly smooth, but chunkier is fine, too.)
- Transfer paste to a suitably sized glass jar (I used a pint), allowing at least 1″ of headroom. Tap jar gently on the counter, then insert a butter knife to remove any large air bubbles and tap again. Smooth the top surface of your paste with the knife.
- In a separate container, combine 1/4 tsp salt with 1/4 C warm water. Stir to dissolve, then pour gently over the top of your dried fruit mix, completely covering the surface of the chutney. Discard any extra brine that doesn’t fit in the jar.
- Tightly seal and set on a stain-proof plate or bowl. Allow to ferment at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) for 2 days.
- After two days, open your jar over the sink, just in case any brine spills out. (The jar may be slightly pressurized from fermentation. A satisfying “pssssshhht!” sound is perfectly normal and not a cause for alarm.) Most of your brine will have been drawn down into the fruit mix, but if any surface brine remains, pour it off into the sink.
- Stir well, sneak a taste, then refrigerate.
- Allow to mellow for a few days if desired, then spread on crackers, pancakes, waffles, apple slices, or toast, or stir into hot porridge.
Fermented chutney will keep for three months or more in the refrigerator.