(45 minutes, serves 8.)
This is basically my mango-ginger chutney, but with cherries, because cherries are in season now, and I keep buying them because I love them so.
You don’t actually need to cook a chutney—you can just chop up some fruit and mix it with spices and serve; that would be common in Sri Lanka. But I prefer a more blended chutney, with a mellower flavor. A great quick appetizer for a party is serving this with crackers and cheddar cheese.
3 c. cherries, pitted and halved
1 rounded tsp salt
1 cup malt vinegar
3 dried chilies (optional)
3 TBL fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
3/4 – 1 cup sugar
1/3 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of what I had on hand, but raisins, sultanas, mango, etc., would all be good)
1 rounded tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
1. Put cherries in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
2. Remove stalks and seeds from chilies (if used) and soak chilies in a little vinegar for 10 minutes. Combine vinegar, ginger, and chilies in a blender and blend (you can alternatively pound the chilies with a mortar and pestle and grate the ginger in).
3. Put blended mixture in a stainless steel pan with curry powder and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
4. Add cherries and dried fruit. Turn heat back to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy.
5. Cool and serve with rice and curries, or add to a sandwich – it’s great with grilled chicken or pork. You can also use the slightly more liquid version as a salad dressing.
Note: You can substitute green apples, pears, apricots, etc. for cherries. Or mix and match!
Note 2: If not eating immediately, store in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks, or in the pantry for months, if canned and sterilized properly.