slow cooker wild apple chutney

September 10, 2017
wild apple chutney

Out for a hike along the Bruce Trail near Lion’s Head, in a tangle of wildflowers, and birch trees, and short, gnarled, thousand-year-old eastern white cedars, we fall upon an old, long forgotten apple orchard. The apple trees have grown wild. Some of them are stunted by the patchy, shallow earth they’re growing in, amidst all the limestone outcroppings. The trees are laden, heavy with fruit. The apples are shades of dark red and gold, soft green and pale yellow, some mottled, some picture-perfect. The sky above is a deep, heavenly blue, almost too perfect to be real. It’s an unbelievable bounty – a portrait of pure, wild joy.

wild apples

I’m with a friend. We go from tree to tree – tasting apples – calling out, “Oooh, taste this one – so sweet!” or, “So tart!” or, “Hard as a rock!” One tastes like pears. One has beautiful, mottled, red flesh. Others we know, like McIntosh. Some we spit out.

Perhaps it’s the connection with the natural world. Or the beauty of the early autumn day, but foraging, it seems, is good for the soul. We come away with two full bags of small, wild apples and a lavish dose of happiness. A gift from the trees planted long ago by settlers or farmers who tried to work this rocky land – a small, tenuous connection to an unknown history.

This recipe would be wonderful and much easier made with any good, commercial cooking apples. The small wild apples require a lot of peeling and cutting. But there’s such satisfaction in using them. Next up will be a wild apple tart. The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw everything in the slow cooker and leave it alone for a few hours to let the chutney make itself. A lovely little bit of kitchen magic.

Wild Apple Chutney

  • Difficulty: easy
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200 ml apple cider vinegar
50 ml balsamic vinegar
200 grams (1 cup) of dark brown sugar (such as turbinado, Demerara, or muscovado, etc.)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
850 grams of prepared, chopped, peeled, cooking apples
80 grams of sultana raisins
2 medium onions, diced



1. Add the vinegars, sugar, spices, and salt to the slow cooker and stir to mix.

2. Add the apples, onions, and sultanas.

3. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook for four to six hours, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is cooked and the chutney is a thick jam like consistency.

4. Transfer hot chutney to sterilized jars and seal. If jars do not seal properly – use the hot water bath technique to process safely. I’m always nervous about home canning so I tend to refrigerate my preserves (except for properly sealed jams). If you need a primer on using the hot water bath technique there is a good one here

Serve the chutney with sharp cheddar and a hearty loaf of bread; or a charcuterie platter; or roast pork tenderloin; with some good pork sausages; as an accompaniment to a curry; or alongside a pork tourtiere.

I’m joining the party at Fiesta Friday for the first time in a long time! Thanks to Angie and co-hosts, Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Nimmi @ Adorable Life

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  • Reply Amanda | What's Cooking September 10, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Beautiful pics and what an amazing find, wildvapple trees! Such gems. This recipe came just in time. We were staying at an airbnb that had no kitchen so I brought my slow cooker and did my best for a week and now I’m excited to use it more. I also wouldn’t mind the smell of fall spices from this recipe warming my apartment. I can’t wait to try this! So great to hear your stories. Be well. Xox

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Dearest Amanda, don’t you love being reduced to basics and having to test your imagination and ingenuity? So satisfying. Really like using my slow cooker – it’s like having a cook in the kitchen and coming home to find dinner ready and the house full of rich aromas. Have you tried using it for granola yet? That’s one of my favourite tricks. Will be sure to watch for recipes from you.
      Happiest of autumns to you. ♡

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 10, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Lovely recipe and beautiful photos. 🙂

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Thanks Ronit – so appreciate your comments. Photography is my downfall. But I’m trying!

  • Reply Carole Dufort September 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Beautiful post, will try the recipe, fantastic pictures, sounds like a gorgeous day!

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Carole – did you recognize the marble board you gave me. A beloved treasure! xo

  • Reply Sheila Firth September 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Lindy we will have bushels of apples growing on the old trees here this year. New trees are popping up, too. Keep the recipes coming, please! Last year I made a chutney with quince. It was delicious, so more of that coming this year, too.

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Sheila – wonderful to hear from you. I think of you (and Aggi) often, especially as I walk, alone. Lovely to think of you with your old apple trees and in your kitchen. Did you find quince in Ontario? Or was that after your move? Such an old-fashioned thing – but I can imagine it would make wonderful chutney. It was more common in Australia and I had quince last year, In Spain, on the Camino, as well – quince paste served with cheese. Perhaps the winters are too hard for it here in Ontario? Do you think I could grow a quince tree in Kingston? ♡

  • Reply Jhuls September 11, 2017 at 2:14 am

    This does sound so delicious!! I wish I could try some of this from you. Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party!

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Jhul for co-hosting! Will go check out the other posts…

  • Reply chef mimi September 11, 2017 at 8:01 am

    A beautiful post, as always! Love your chutney. I like that you used cumin.

    • Reply Lindy September 11, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Mimi – Your blog always makes me happy and so does hearing from you – thank you! ♡

  • Reply Laura September 12, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Cannot wait to try! Slow cooker season is here!

  • Reply FrugalHausfrau September 17, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Lindy, what a beautiful recipe and genius to do it in the slow cooker!! We don’t quite have apples here, but soon. Loved all the orchard photos, too, btw!!


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