Complain all you want about the lack of fresh fruit, one thing we do have in abundance are berries and the indisputable berry queen is the blueberry.
Packed with antioxidants, the blueberries in the island of Newfoundland also have the advantage of growing abundantly and effortlessly in the wild thus free of pesticides. This berry is so popular here that this year Brigus celebrated its 25th Annual Blueberry Festival! Yes, 25th!
At home, we typically just freeze the blueberries and use them throughout the year in our morning smoothies – okay, we really eat them all in the first 3 months since we never pick enough. But by the end of this summer, the blueberry harvest had been particularly bountiful, and the canning bug was starting to bite. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to transform sweet, juicy blueberries into tart, gooey chutney.
I found a recipe on the Nova Scotian site Adventures in Local Food and adapted it slightly. To start, I doubled the recipe, so it took a bit over 2 h to boil to the proper consistency. I added cardamom, used brown sugar and fresh ginger. I also tried to source the products locally. The apples are from a friend’s backyard, the onions and the garlic from the Farmers’ Market.
Chutneys should be left to mellow for at least a month but we could not resist and were opening a jar a few weeks later. More sweet than tart, the chutney was delicious but could have definitely taken more cardamom (I can be a bit of a cardamom fanatic).
- 8 cups diced peeled tart apples (about 10 medium sized apples)
- 8 cups blueberries
- 4 cups finely chopped onions
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups of brown sugar
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tsp pickling salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp of freshly ground cardamom seeds
- 2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a large pot, combine apples, blueberries, onions, garlic, sugar, ginger, salt, pepper, cardamom and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until onions are translucent and mixture is thickened to a jam consistency. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.
- While the chutney is cooking, prepare canner, sterilize jars and screw rings. For the lids, place them in a small saucepan filled with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and set the pan aside.
- Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic spatula and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot chutney. Wipe rim clean with a damp cloth and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 10 minutes but remember to adjust for altitude. Remove jars and let stand for at least 24 hours on a towel-lined surface. Check lids and refrigerate or reprocess any jars that aren’t sealed.
- Label and date the jars.