So FYI, Thanksgiving is in a few days. This event can typically bring excitement to anyone who enjoys eating and/or cooking. Food blogs overfloweth with exotic variations of green been casserole. Die-hard-traditionalists dust off their grandma's book of holiday recipes. And yr gut sits back and weeps, with its looming fate of food cramps and bloat.
But alas! This day long marathon of gluttony doesn't all have to be for naught! Why don't you throw some beneficial bacteria on dat bih. Enter: fermented cranberry apple chutney. Familiar, traditional, and delicious enough for your parents to allow this its own serving dish on the dinner table (typically the tofu stays hidden in the fridge).
Cranberries are already pretty tart, without the added sour of fermentation. It doesn't help that our holiday palettes are accustomed to sugar-drenched canned cranberry sauce blobs. But aside from its infamous bladder infection fighting capabilities, cranberries are actually a kinda spectacular health boosting fruit. And obvs they happen to blend really well with our favorite holiday-worthy flavors.
The reason why cranberries are so dang tangy, is that they release less sugar than their fruity counterparts during the ripening process. Because of this, the cranberry maintains an incredibly high acidity, naturally occurring as benzoic acid. Historically, benzoic acid has been used as a preservative. The riper the cranberry, the higher concentration of this acid. Within its pH level lies potent anti-fungal properties (holla @ those bladder infections), which prevents bacterias from spreading throughout the body.
These anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities have not been found in many other fruits. Additional properties go on to include vital phytochemicals that produce a sorta synergism specific to cranberries, which fight strong against free radicals, cancer, cardiovascular health, stomach ulcers, and urinary tract and dental health. On a more conventional scale, cranberries are high in vitamin C, low in calories, and full of beneficial fiber. Pro tip: the bulk of these nutrients are found in the skin of the cranberry, so plz consume the whole fruit!
Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), the cosmic cranberry loses most of its magical properties when being processed. This is what you find for mixed juices and canned fruit, typically to mask its tartness (if you've ever had pure cran juice or popped a raw one in, you can already feel the pucker comin on).
As we've previously covered the process of fermentation, the method will allow our lil cranbesties to live up to their full potential, remaining in their ~natural state~. All ingredients must be raw! This fermented chutney also will produce the variety of microorganisms that populate our gut via lactic acid, providing a helping hand to the digestive system (on a day it needs it most). To really build up as much lactic acid as possible (which is what the starches and sugars from fruits and veggies convert to) you may have to ferment this recipe for a little longer than a week due to how little sugar cranberries have, or use a culture starter. We only let ours ferment for about four days. Def good to go ahead and get a batch prepared for Christmas dinner though!
SO, if we're gonna be stuck with some sort of cranberry side dish variation, it might as well provide our bodies with the benefits surpassing pleased taste buds. Why not put the canned cranberries back on the shelf, and go grab a fresh bag from produce. They're in season after all. The apples are obviously sweet, but we added extra honey as well. Add a few tablespoons of organic raw sugar if its still too tart. Ginger would taste great in this, we used fennel seeds. The salt is necessary for the fermentation process, so be sure to use pure sea salt. And remember that this fermentation method revolves around really pressing down on the mix to produce the necessary juices.
4 cups cranberries
6 apples chopped
1/4 cup local honey
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp of grounded fennel
1. Lightly pulse the cranberries in a food processor.
2. Chop apples with a knife (we like it nice n chunky).
3. Finally grind your fennel seeds.
4. Combine all ingredients into your mixing bowl.
4. Squeeze lemon and add the spices/salt in.
5. Further fold in the ingredients until you reach a squishy juicy consistency.
6. Put in a clean wide mouth jar. Push down on the mixture lightly, to make sure this liquid is above the other ingredients.
7. Seal and let ferment for 3 days to 3 weeks. This fruit kimchi will taste more and more alcoholic as it ages. Refrigerate after opening.