Cultured Persimmon Chutney
Serve this sweet, sour, spicy and slightly salty chutney with comforting cold-weather main dishes.
- 3 cups persimmons, diced about 5 Fuyus or 2 Hachiyas
- 1 cup apple, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
- ¼ cup minced cilantro (optional)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 quarters preserved lemon, pulp and rind, diced (optional)
- ¼ cup preserved lemon brine or other starter, see note
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- salt to taste see note
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Pack the chutney into clean glass jars. If the mixture doesn't contain enough liquid to completely cover the fruit and vegetables, pour in a small amount of water.
Replace the lids and set the jars on plates to catch any drips that will likely gurgle out of your live food. Keep the jars at room temperature and burp (i.e. open) them daily to release built-up carbon dioxide.
Taste your chutney after two days. It should taste tangy and slightly effervescent and magical. When you like the flavor, transfer it to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation.
If desired, strain out some of the liquid to thicken this chutney before serving. Reserve the liquid to kickstart a new batch of chutney or another ferment.
If you don't have—or don't like—preserved lemons, add ¼ cup of another kind of starter, such as ginger bug, whey from cultured yogurt, kombucha or sauerkraut brine, for example. Or stir in a couple of tablespoons of raw honey. You will need to add salt to compensate for the missing very salty preserved lemon and brine. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
If you don't have any kind of starter, this will ferment without it. It may take up to a couple of days longer.
If you are as obsessed with preserved lemons as I and you have excess brine in your current jar, after juicing your lemons, cut the rinds up, place them in a small jar, pour the brine over the top and start a new jar of preserved lemon in about two minutes flat.