Servings: 3 cups
2 pints fresh loquats, ripe
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup apricots
1 cup Fuji apple (½ apple), shredded
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
(click on the link for the recipe)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon dark floral honey
2-½ tablespoons brown sugar
Wash, peel and seeds the loquats (see tips). Place them in a bowl and coat them with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and the juice of half a lemon juice. Let macerate for about 10-15 minutes until the juices begin to flow.
Remove the pits from the apricots. Coarsely chop them and set aside.
In a deep saucepan, heat the oil. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Once the seeds start popping in the hot oil, add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes until they're translucent.
Add the loquats, apricots, shredded apples, ginger garlic paste, dry mustard, paprika and red chili powder. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes until some fruits caramelize and add vinegar, molasses, honey and the rest of the brown sugar. Season with a little salt. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15-20 additional minutes. Stir occasionally. Finish with lemon juice. Bring one last time to a rolling boil, then turn off the heat.
While the chutney is simmering, fill a large pot of water and bring to just under a boil. Place 3 ½-pint Mason jars, lids, heat-proof funnel and tongs in the pot and boil for 10 minutes. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your Mason jars. They'll give you exact time and techniques.
Remove the jars from the water and fill with the hot chutney, leaving about ¼-inch of head space or whatever your canning directions say. Carefully place the lids on the jars. Tighten the collar around each jar. Bring your large pot of water to a boil and place all the sealed jars in it for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water. If the top of the lid still pops, the vacuum didn't form and you'll need to consume the chutney in the next couple of weeks, storing it in the refrigerator. Otherwise you can safely store it in your pantry for up to a year.
Serve at room temperature. I paired the loquat apricot chutney with chicken and basmati rice.
Indian cuisine always calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. But don't add too much as you don't want the garlic to over-power the chutney.
My tip to get freshly pitted ripe loquats is to call your kids. Just make a small criss-cross incision using a paring knife and let you kids peel the skin by pulling it. Cut the fruit in half and use your fingers to get the pits out. It's messy (they can eat the ones they mess up) and fun for them. It's okay if they're a little mashed as they will reduce and cook in vinegar. Make sure you gather the juice from the fruits as well.
Loquat apricot chutney can be served as an appetizer with crackers topped with a fruity cheese such as gruyère, on toasted bread or as a spread on a turkey sandwich.
Chutneys are usually served with basmati rice or roti (an Indian wheat-base flat bread).
To insure good sterilization of the jars, I stack a dozen magnets together to create a stick and use it as a gripper to place the lids on the jars without touching them. Just make sure the magnets are clean!
The chutney will taste better if you let the sealed jar sit for at least a week before opening.