Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cherry Chutney


Andy's parents have two big cherry trees in their backyard. They sent me home from Jacksonville with two bags of cherries; juicy, stain-y, bright red globes of goodness.

Cherries and I have an interesting history. We lived in Concord, California when I was about 5 years old, and the house we lived in had a big cherry tree in the backyard. Our house on Dumbarton Street was also the home my mom had grown up in; there were 8 people in a tiny 4 bedroom, 2 bath house. Can you imagine sharing a tiny bath and no shower with 5 sisters? My poor Uncle Jim!


Anyway, I remember eating tons of the dark juicy fruits off that tree. It only took one incidence of one cherry too many and my stomach was done for the next 17 years. In the last few years I have started experimenting with them again, and to my great pleasure, I love them!

What happened next was so sad. I came home with cherries on Wednesday, we left for Astoria on Friday, and it was not until Saturday that I finally got around to thinking about what I would do with them. There was no way we could eat them all, that would be guaranteed DEATH and another 17 years of cherry-free living.

I hopped on a few sites I frequent to pull off a recipe I had been wanting to try called Clafoutis. Being that I start a summer intensive of French classes where I will be speaking for 3 hours a day, I figured it was appropriate. I linked to Smitten Kitchen, then to La Tartine Gourmand, then google-d Julia Child's recipe. I then flipped open my most favorite book, Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions to check out her Cherry Chutney recipe.

Andy tied on an apron and got to work pitting them, and he noticed a very bad thing. Leeettle worms. Yuck! I guess that's one drawback to growing organically - bugs can't resist them just like us. So out of a big colander of cherries, I only got 2 cups of fruit to work with. I went with the Chutney. Poor guy, he thought he was helping me so I would make him a yummy dessert. He asked me this morning, "so, are you going to make the cherry dessert today?" whoopsies.


Cherry Chutney from Nourishing Traditions

4 cups pitted, washed cherries
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1/8 cup Rapadura (or sugar)
1/4 cup whey (see instructions below)
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup filtered water

Mix cherries with spices and orange rind, place in a quart-sized, wide-mouthed mason jar and press down lightly. Mix remaining ingredients and pour into jar, adding more water if necessary to cover the cherries. The top of the chutney shoudl be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator. This should be eaten within 2 months. Makes 1 quart.

*Whey*

1 or 2 quarts good-quality yoghurt or raw milk

Whey is a starter culture for many lacto-fermented veggies, fruits, and beverages. The by-product of this process is homemade cream cheese, which is so much more delicious than anything that comes from the store. If you are using raw milk, place the milk in a clean glass container and allow it to stand at room temp. 1-4 days until it separates. Yoghurt needs no advance preparation. Don't use Greek Yogurt, which already has the whey strained out.
Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth. Pour in the yoghurt or separated milk, cover, and let stand at room temp. for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerate. The cream cheese keeps for 1 month and the whey for approx. 6 months. 2 quarts of yoghurt makes 5 cups of whey and 2 cups of cream cheese.

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