For a party favor, stocking stuffer or a pantry
staple, to enjoy quality cranberry sauce all
year long. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
Cranberry jelly is easy to figure out, but what is the difference between cranberry sauce and cranberry chutney? How about cranberry conserve? Cranberry relish?
Cranberry Conserve is a generally mixture of more than one fruit (added oranges, for example), often with added nuts and raisins, that is cooked until it becomes thick.
Cranberry Chutney, made with fruit or vegetables, usually includes vinegar, onion and spices. It’s of Indian origin (chatni is the Hindi word for strongly spiced). While people who only know Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (a British concoction in 19th-century India) may think of chutney as sweet, it does include vinegar, lime juice, onion and tamarind.
Cranberry Jelly is simply sweetened and jelled fruit juice, a clear, bright product. It is generally made by cooking fruit juice and sugar with pectin as a jelling agent and lemon juice as an acid, to maintain a consistent texture. Jelly is firm and will hold its shape.
Cranberry Sauce. A sauce is cooked; the fruit softens and is bound buy a syrup made from the fruit’s juices, water and sugar. Optional spices can be (and should be!) added.
Cranberry Relish. A relish is not cooked. In the case of cranberry relish, the cranberries are chopped, mixed with sugar and other ingredients: apples, oranges/zest, lemon juice/zest, brandy or Grand Marnier, fresh ginger, etc.
So there is an official difference, even though one person’s conserve may be another person’s chutney.
There are textbook terms, and then there are mis-uses by people who inherited the misuse or weren’t likely to do culinary research. In olden times, the distinctions weren’t codified; hence, Boston Cream Pie is a layer cake, and cheesecake is a cheese custard pie.
Sometimes, people choose names that they think have more sales appeal. We’ve received pies called crumbles (a pie has a bottom crust, a crumble does not), jams called preserves (the difference), buttercrunch called English toffee (the difference), etc., etc. So if you care about being correct, look it up.
MARINA’S CRANBERRY CHUTNEY
Marina’s Cranberry Chutney is made from cranberries, sugar, onion, oranges, raisins and walnuts, seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cayenne.
Her prime business is raising pork, and the lovely layering of flavors in her cranberry condiment is a beautiful complement to pork or poultry.
Given the multiple fruits, raisins, nuts and lack of vinegar, we’d call it a conserve, not a chutney. But to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Juliet: What’s in a name? That which we call a chutney by any other name would taste as good.
The onion is a delightful touch and the cayenne is so subtle that heat-avoiders won’t even know it’s there. Sold in 16-ounce jars for $5.99, it’s available from Marina’s website, CircleBPork.com. It’s available on Amazon for $6.99.