Fermented Spiced Apple Chutney
I remember the very first time I ate an apple straight from the tree. It was as if I had been in Plato’s cave my whole life and what I thought were apples were only shadows.
Crisp. Juicy. Sweet. Refreshing.
I was in college by the time I experienced an amazing apple, as where I grew up was too cold to have fruit trees. Fruit trees, apparently, don’t like -40 temperatures. Actually, I can’t think of any living thing that does.
There is a hardy yellow sort of apple that braves the harsh conditions, but they are rather mealy and small. Best for applesauce, they aren’t really crisp, juicy, or sweet. What takes a whole growing season in the Rocky Mountains is done by June here in Slovakia.
Now, living where tree fruits abound, I still consider it an inexcusable horror to see fruit rotting on the ground in the summer. And every single visitor I’ve had from that area of Canada has the same enthusiasm when they find pears growing on the roadside or wild plums that everyone else ignores.
Seeing as some years there is so much fruit that they don’t know what to do with it, I guess it’s only natural that distilled fruit alcohol abounds here, including apple.
I am not exaggerating when I assert that if you want to start eating fermented foods and have a hard time starting, this fermented spiced apple chutney is the one to start with. Because of the apples, raisins, and spices, it’s still quite sweet by the time it’s ready to eat.
Only the knowledge that my kids need probiotics as well was able to stop me from eating the whole bowl. Barely.
Eat it with yogurt or cream, on pancakes or crepes, as a jam substitute, or just plain. It tickles me pink to think of something so delicious as being also so good for you.
Even though we think of apples as a fall and winter food, this apple chutney is perfect for those over-wintered apples that are no longer in their prime. Early in the spring, they are still the only local fruit.
Inspired by the Five-Spice Apple Chutney from Gnowglins, I’ve adjusted the spices and method. If you don’t have whole spices, just toss in a few pinches of each of the spices.
Although I don’t usually recommend using a starter for fermented veggies, with this apple ferment using a starter allows it to be sweeter instead of quite salty. I’ve used both water kefir and brine from fermented veggies (sauerkraut, cauliflower, and daikon) and have to say that brine gives a richer flavour, although water kefir works as well.
Fermented Spiced Apple Chutney
1kg/2lbs/8 cups grated apple, with peel
2 tsp cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
6 allspice balls
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or mace for AIP)
1/2 cup EACH walnuts and sunflower seeds (or your own mix of nuts and seeds, or omit if you can’t eat them)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup brine from fermented veggies OR 1/2 cup water kefir + 1 tsp salt
1 cup filtered water
1 tsp salt
Put the whole spices in a spice grinder and grind until fairly smooth.
Grate, chop, or chop up in food processor the apples, still with the peel on.
Mix apples in a large bowl with all ingredients but the last two (water and salt). Knead the mixture a bit, then fill and press down into jars (2 quart jars or equivalent). Pack in as well as you can.
Dissolve salt in water and pour enough to cover the apples by about an inch/2cm. You may need more or less than one cup of water, depending on the size of your jars, but keep the ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tsp salt.
Cover with a tight lid. Let sit at room temperature 2-3 days, then transfer to fridge. This does produce a lot of pressure, so make sure to burp the lid now and then.
Eat and marvel that you’ve created food teeming with good for you bacteria that tastes so good!
Shared at Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fight Back Friday
Heather @ Cook It Up Paleo
May 21, 2014 @ 13:45:28
Wow that is genius! Love that it can be used on pancakes and such! I personally have a hard time eating sauerkraut, so this is perfect 🙂
May 21, 2014 @ 19:17:33
You won’t even be able to tell this is fermented (although if it sits too long it will get fizzy). Sauerkraut does have a stronger taste, if you have some that you don’t know what to do with, try my recipe for Strapacky – that sour taste gets totally neutralized. I also have a recipe for cauliflower that is easy on the taste buds as well. Hope you enjoy!
May 21, 2014 @ 21:25:33
Thank you. This looks delicious. A couple of questions. First, can you use whey (perhaps 1/4 cup) in place of the water kefir and secondly, what do you think about sprouting the sunflower seeds to increase nutritional value?
May 22, 2014 @ 00:46:24
You can use whey although I prefer not to – I find that when I make fermented veggies with it, the vegges have a tendency to become slimy and to have that white scum. Also, http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/basics/why-i-dont-use-whey-as-a-vegetable-fermentation-starter/
You can also just use water and salt although I haven’t actually tried it – I used the brine instead to reduce the saltiness. Try 2 tsp per cup of water? I have some apples waiting to be used, so I’ll try it and edit.
As for sprouting the sunflower seeds, go for it!
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May 23, 2014 @ 20:20:48
I totally know what you mean about the growing season, (and the -40 temps in Canada)! When we were in Oregon, we couldn’t get over the blackberries growing everywhere – to them they’re a bit of a nuisance, but to us is was so great to have ripe fruit everywhere!
May 24, 2014 @ 21:31:27
Whenever we went to the coast we loved the blackberries growing everywhere! Today I kept thinking of differences in growing season – at my inlaw’s we were enjoying peas from the garden, and I think in Canada they just were able to plant them (although it was an unusually cold spring).
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Mar 03, 2015 @ 15:40:20
Hi! I’ve never tried fermenting and love the idea of starting with this apple recipe. Do you use the entire apple, core and seeds and all? Or do you core it first and then grate? thanks!
Mar 03, 2015 @ 15:44:40
Yes, core it first, but leave the skins on 🙂 Hope you like it!
Jun 01, 2015 @ 03:36:40
I just made this recipe and I love it. I used galas, but I think I will try granny smith’s, next time. Good thing I made it as I’m almost out of your fermented cauliflower! Dakujem
Jun 01, 2015 @ 09:58:11
So glad you like it! Yes, galas might make it too sweet. This recipe is perfect for using up soft apples this time of year, before the new fruit is ready. I love hearing that people are making the recipes!
Jun 03, 2015 @ 22:53:12
My children are devouring it, thank you! How long would you say it’ll last in the refrigerator? My veggies lasted a really long time but im wondering since it’s fruit we should eat it quickly.
Jun 04, 2015 @ 09:46:50
Yay! Good reminder to make some, I just saw a bunch of soft apples on sale. I can’t verify how long it lasts, since it always gets used up quickly, but I’d say about a week. It does turn alcoholy if left too long.
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Jul 15, 2015 @ 15:22:26
[…] Fermented Spiced Apple Chutney […]
Feb 24, 2016 @ 05:09:03
Could you use Kombucha for the fermented liquid?
Feb 24, 2016 @ 10:30:55
Sep 16, 2016 @ 23:32:21
I just made apple chutney for the first time, it smells and tastes wonderful, BUT the texture is weird, slimey, not sure I want to eat it. Should it be like that? I am thinking maybe I could use it up by using it as pie filling or something, but do not want to do that if the texture indicates something went wrong with the fermentation process.
Sep 17, 2016 @ 20:45:19
What did you use to help the culture? I find using whey tends to make it more slimy. Sometimes leaving it in the fridge for a week or two helps as it moved through various stages of fermentation. It’s ok to eat slimy but not the best texture for sure.
Oct 03, 2016 @ 08:39:58
I just discovered your website. The “I grow live bacteria in jars” line has definitely captured my eye and my heart. You’re like my eastern european soul mate! I’m in Anchorage, AK, and I too grow live bacteria in jars. I have been quite adventurous–not to the point of killing anyone, but I did develop my own bread yeast from currants once. And the bread was DIVINE. I presently am expanding my horizons on the fermented food front and I am seriously considering making this recipe for fermented apple spice chutney. I’ll have to “fave” this site so we can trade notes. Sincerely, Donna
Oct 03, 2016 @ 22:17:28
I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska – I love the tundra look. Kindred spirits! I need to get my jars fermenting again, after being gone for the summer. The best way to keep up is to sign up for email notifications, I send a little email when I post a new post. Try the chutney – it’s delicious! I need to make some now too. Look forward to fermenting together 🙂
Feb 20, 2017 @ 14:28:38
Brillinat reicpe, tated delicious. Thanks for this. Simon
Feb 22, 2017 @ 12:09:20
You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed it!
Mar 18, 2017 @ 16:31:57
I’m going to make this today. I have Dr Mercola’s culture starter. Can I use this? I’m making fermented vegetables and liking them but my husband and grandson do not (yet). I’m thinking this might appeal to them more! Thanks for your wirk
Mar 19, 2017 @ 21:51:22
I’ve never used a culture starter, but from what I’ve read it should work perfectly. I hope this wins over your husband and grandson!
Jun 11, 2017 @ 01:42:45
Hi! We are new to fermenting and I am dying to make kraut, cauliflower and the chutney! Would you recommend getting special toppers to release the CO2 from the jars? Or does it work to just use mason jars? Thanks for sharing your knowledge! 😉
Jun 19, 2017 @ 22:48:07
Hi Kacie, sorry this took me so long, I just found your comment. I personally have just used mason jars, although I know people swear by various special toppers. I don’t have a lot of options available where I live, so I make do with what I have!
Sep 16, 2017 @ 08:16:40
Just found your website via Wardee Harmon’s website, and I love that you are in Slovakia (where my father grew up in Kosice), making the kind of food I love and thrive on. This chutney is fabulous. I used the fermenting liquid from a red cabbage ferment made with salt and it not only gave it a lovely colour, it tastes divine. As I do not eat dairy, and therefore do not make whey, which makes me feel ill, this is great. Thanks so much.
Sep 19, 2017 @ 15:29:58
I’m glad you liked the chutney – the red cabbage brine must have given it a lovely pink colour. I’m glad you found the blog and hope you enjoy looking around!
Mar 26, 2018 @ 00:17:34
I’ve made an apple ferment previously (used the contents of a probiotic capsule) which came out very good, but I’m really liking the idea of this chutney. However, I’m curious as to how the walnuts and seeds come out. What is the texture and the taste? We pre-soak our raw nuts, rinse (to neutralize the phytic acid) and then dehydrate them; so I’m concerned about the phytic acid that then remains in the brine and finished chutney?
Mar 30, 2018 @ 21:05:03
Honestly, I’m not all up on the ins and outs of phytic acid. My understanding isn’t that the phytic acid goes out of nuts or grains, but that it is neutralized, or broken apart during the soaking. I have heard that rinsing lessens the amount left, but if breaking it apart from nutrients is what makes the nutrients available, does it matter if it is still floating around? If you are concerned, you could always add previously soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds to your chutney.
Aug 06, 2018 @ 13:15:18
I just made this 4 days ago! There seems to be a slimy top, like a komubucha mother. Is this normal? I thought the taste would be a little more sweet and spicey, but for some reason mine is a bit bland. I used pink lady apples and macadamia nuts, would that make these differences? Can this go bad during the fermentation process? If so how can I tell?!
Aug 21, 2018 @ 11:32:55
Fruit ferments ferment quickly into alcohol. If a ferment goes bad, you won’t be able to eat it, it will smell so bad. A fruit ferment is much more likely to become too strong due to alcohol.
The slimy top may be yeast forming – while it isn’t pleasant it isn’t harmful either, you can try to absorb it into a paper towel. I didn’t specify a certain type of apple to use, but various types of apples have more/less flavour, more/less juice, more/less sweet.