Grandma’s Cranberry Chutney

My mother’s mother, Marion, was one of my heroes. She was beautiful, loving, a fabulous seamstress and knitter, a talented cook, and she called me Darling. When I spent the night at her house, I awoke to her sound in the kitchen fixing breakfast and emptying the dishwasher, sounds that indicated all was well in the world. She would set the breakfast table with pink and white china, and in a matching shallow bowl, there would always be a sectioned grapefruit from my grandparents’ grove. It was one of the many ways she used food to express her love for us.

Holidays were her favorite time of the year to cook. Many of the traditional recipes our family shares come from her recipe stash, especially if cranberries or mangoes are involved. Her recipe for cranberry chutney is my all-time favorite.

It is not Thanksgiving until I have prepared this layered-with-flavor cranberry chutney made with cranberries, apples, pecans, celery, oranges, raisins, and ground ginger.

Back when Grandma made it, a bag of cranberries weighed 16 ounces, not the 12 ounces you get today. A representative at Ocean Spray told me they went to 12 ounces in 1980 when there was a shortage of cranberries. This is good info to know if you are using a pre-1980 recipe that says to “add a bag of cranberries.”

1 pound fresh cranberries (4½-5 cups), discard any that are shriveled
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup golden seedless raisins
1 cup chopped celery (4½ ounces or 2 stalks)
1 cup chopped apple, peeled (4 ounces or 1 medium)
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped pecans

Prep all the ingredients.

Use a box grater or a Microplane to grate the orange. Be sure to wash the orange well first.

Combine cranberries, sugar, water and orange juice. Listen for the sound of cranberries popping as they heat up and expand in the water. Stir occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Once cranberries come to a boil, set a timer for 15 minutes and simmer over low heat.
DSC_0589 DSC_0601

Remove the pot from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and let sit until thickened.

I can’t express how much I love the sweet and tart tastes in this recipe. Instead, I will show you all the tasting spoons I used to try the chutney while it was cooling down!

Chill until ready to serve. This will last one week in the refrigerator.

I wrote a story about how cranberries are grown and harvested, here.

Other Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes We Love:
Melissa’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
Auntie Martha’s Spicy Spinach (aka Spinach Madeleine)

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21 thoughts on “Grandma’s Cranberry Chutney

  1. Judy, I recently tried an appetizer rather like your cranberry brie bites: wonton wrappers pressed into miniature muffin tin, sprayed; a bit of brie; then blackberry jam; all of it baked in 350 degree oven until wrappers are brown. I’m glad to see this other variation!

  2. Judy, this is a little spooky. I have been searching in vain for my mom’s cranberry relish recipe. Was going to take to a family dinner. No luck. Then, I open this post: it is the same recipe!! Blessings on you, your grandmother, and my mom. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  3. Oh my gosh, those little tarts look delicious! I bake with cranberries often, but on a very Baking101 level. If I made something as nice as your tarts, I would expect applause.
    And thank you so much for confirming my suspicion that bags of cranberries used to be one pound.

    1. I grew up less than an hour from the Ocean Spray cranberry bogs in MA. I have always loved finding ways to cook with cranberries, that’s why I loved that post you wrote about using up your frozen cranberries. The tarts are super easy and you could use the cranberry sauce recipe on the package or my grandmother’s recipe. If you like cranberries, I totally suggest trying my grandmother’s chutney recipe. Just knowing it is in the fridge, makes you grab a clean spoon out of the drawer to get another bite … the tart equals the sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. Quinn, about a week ago, I left a message with the marketing person at Ocean Spray to ask when they switched from a 16 oz bag of cranberries to a 12 oz bag. I was curious. I was just listening to my phone messages from last week and saw there was a message from Ocean Spray saying they switched to 12 ounce bags in 1980 when there was a shortage of cranberries. I thought you would be interested in this update!

  4. Hi Judy, growing up in Italy I was not familiar with cranberries, however, I quickly learned and appreciate the many wonderful uses. This Thanksgiving (first time) our family will be celebrating it out to dinner, so I definitely plan on making my traditional Thanksgiving dinner at a later date and try your grandma’s Cranberry’s Chutney Sauce. Also, I’m looking forward trying out the Cranberry Brie Bites. I think they’ll be a hit at our card game gathering. I’ll keep you posted.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    1. Mafalda, as someone who knew and loved my mother, I am so happy to hear from you at this time. Thank you for your message. Let me know how it turns out. If you get a chance, read the post on how cranberries are grown. My mother and I had so many cranberry recipes! xoJudy

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