Lacto-Fermented Apple Cranberry Chutney

An Essential Holiday Condiment: Delicious, Beautiful and Probiotic. I love holiday feasting—but enough of the stuffing already. Here’s a most delicious and beautiful holiday condiment, all cranberry-cherry red, spicy, sweet and tart, and a perfect counterpoint to the holiday heavies. This lacto-fermented chutney spreads cheer from the inside out. Your family will be smiling.
By / Photography By Gary Beverly | September 15, 2014


Combine all ingredients except the whey in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a gentle heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes, until slightly thick. Stir regularly.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Divide chutney among jars, leaving 1 to 2 inches headroom. Stir 1 tablespoon of whey into each jar and cap loosely. Ferment at room temperature for 2–4 days before refrigerating. (See Fermentation Notes.)

Adapted from

Fermentation Notes

This dish's secret weapons are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. They sound like diseases—but, on the contrary, these beneficial bacteria inhibit the growth of the bad boys in food and in your intestinal tract.

They are probiotic, which means “for life.” While you are enjoying the post-dinner big game on the wide screen, they are helping you digest the turkey, mashed potatoes and Grandma’s buttermilk buns. They are producing antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances that give you more resistance to wintertime and lifetime, so this chutney is both fabulously healthy and delicious.

Fermentation takes time and gets better with age, so start this recipe at least a week before you need it.

Get 1 small (6- to 8-ounce) container of unsweetened, plain, organic yogurt and let it sit out for a day or two until it separates into a solid and liquid phase. The liquid is whey. (You’ll need ¼ cup of the whey for the chutney recipe.)

It is very important to add the whey to a room temperature or cooler mix to keep the bacteria alive and working. Mix the whey in well, uniformly throughout the chutney.

Canning jars are best but any clean glass jar will do. Just make sure the lids are clean with no rust or deterioration.

Cover the jars lightly with a lid, so gasses can escape. Let sit at room temperature (around 70°) for 2–4 days. Stir daily and taste. The longer the mix sits at room temperature, the less sweet and the more acidic the flavor. Stop the fermentation when you like it best. Crank down the lid and refrigerate.

Fermented foods continue to work in the refrigerator, but slower. The flavors will change, and grow more complex. You might want to start this tomorrow. Why wait?


  • 3 cups cranberries or pitted cherries or a combination
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tart apple
  • 1 cup yellow raisins
  • 1 cup pitted dates or figs, sliced
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ cup whey from plain yogurt (See Fermentation Notes)
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