If I had to make a list of my top 5 favorite things about summer, cherry season would be pretty darn close to the top! In their short growing season I use cherries in just about every way imaginable in my kitchen. I make cherry jam for toast and for filling oat bars, I slice them up in lieu of tomatoes in my family’s favorite cherry basil tabbouleh salad, and I make this easy cherry ginger chutney to keep on hand in my fridge for topping lean roasted or grilled meats and cheese boards all season long!
If you haven’t had chutney before you may be asking yourself, “What exactly is chutney and how do I use it?’
I wish there was a one-size fits all answer to that question, but the truth is the term “chutney” applies to an array of different sauces and compotes that range in flavor from sweet and sour to tart and spicy. What part of the world you are in will heavily dictate what type of chutney you are served.
For instance, in India, chutneys are more like fresh relishes made with exotic fruit and spices. However, if you were to travel to a part of the world where exotic fresh fruits aren’t readily available you will find a totally different, cooked down interpretation of chutney. This version usually combines fresh and dried fruit with savory components like onions, spices, and sometimes even vinegar.
This easy cherry ginger chutney is of the cooked down variety. It combines fresh Stemilt dark-sweet cherries, dried Bing cherries, dried hibiscus flowers (not to be confused with hibiscus tea), lime juice, fresh ginger, and whole spices. A quick 20-minute cook on the stove is all these ingredients need to result in a scrumptious sweet meets sour flavor punch that will knock your family’s socks right off!
Note: I personally love the tart flavor profile that the dried hibiscus flowers add to the chutney, but if you can’t find those or you just want a sweeter less tart version of the chutney you can use pitted, chopped dates instead.