Tag Archives: holiday

Cranberry Chutney

5 Jan

I generally think of chutney, the salsa of India, as a summer food, perhaps partly because its origin is a place with a hot climate, and also because it requires fresh fruit which is mostly available in the summer.  My adoration of cranberries over the winter made me decide to depart from my plain old cranberry sauce recipe to ferment something new. So, here’s a fermented winter chutney I created.  To learn more about lacto-fermentation, check out my post on lacto-fermentation basics.  Enjoy!

In a small pan, toast:

1/2 t whole cloves

1/2 t coriander seeds

1 t fennel seeds

1/2 t peppercorns


Toasting the seeds.

Wash 4 c cranberries (usually the amount of 1 bag), and pick out any soft ones. Chop the cranberries coarsely in a food processer.


Coarsely chopped cranberries

Mash the spices a little bit (not powder fine) with a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.  Combine the cranberries with the toasted spices and:

a 3 inch piece of ginger, grated,

1/2 t dried thyme

the juice of one orange

1/4 c yogurt whey (see my curds and whey post for details on obtaining whey.  Do NOT use powdered whey!  You need an active culture as your inoculent.)

2 t sea salt

1/2 c filtered water

1/8 c plus 1 T rapadura

1/2 c dark raisins

Place your mixture into a quart sized mason jar, and press the cranberries down so that the water rises to the top of the mixture. If necessary, add a little more water. This part is a little tricky, since cranberries like to float. Do your best to immerse everything.  By the end of the first day, my cranberries had floated up above the water, but everything came out okay….   Leave at least 1 inch of room at the top of your jar. Seal the jar tightly and leave at room temperature for about 2 days. Test your recipe. If it doesn’t taste done (this is a personal preference thing), leave it a little longer. When ready, refrigerate your chutney. It should keep for about 2 months in the fridge.


The finished mixture, ready to ferment

Pomanders: Fermenting Decorative Potpourri Balls for the Holidays, or anytime

7 Dec

Historically, a pomander is a ball of scent, often worn on the body to guard against either foul smells or disease.  I imagine the popular Thieves Oil, which is supposed to be based on a recipe that grave robbers wore to protect themselves from the black plague, would likely have been worn by said thieves as a pomander.  orange-by-nicubunu

I grew up knowing and making pomanders as decorative pieces of fruit studded with cloves.  Flower pomanders (globe shaped bouquets, basically) are also a modern-day variation on the theme.



Take an apple or orange.  Push whole cloves into it in a pattern that suits you.  

You may want to wear a thimble because the cloves are sharp.  I have tough enough fingers, so I usually brave it out.  It can get a little uncomfortable by the end, but I’ve never broken my skin on a clove.  If you have more tender fingers, keep in mind that clove is both antiseptic and analgesic (wink).

 If you want to get fancier, tie a ribbon around the fruit to hang it up, or simply display in a bowl or dish.  Enjoy!

As the fruit decomposes, it perfumes the room with a lovely fragrence.  The pomanders I make tend to mold after a week or so as their fermenation sets in.  Of course, once they are moldy it’s time for the trash.   You can make them last for over a year, according to online sources, if you go through the proper curing process that includes a few extra herbs, sandalwood oil, a brown bag, and time. Of course, once they are cured, they are no longer fermenting, and therefore unsuitable for this blog!


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