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Raisin Chutney Recipe

My husband would eat Raisin Chutney with every meal if I could keep him in a constant enough supply of it. It’s a mildly-fermented, slightly sweet and tangy condiment with the flair of Indian cuisine. Raisin Chutney is positively amazing, and a good first food for those who fear naturally fermented, probiotic-rich, living foods.

I have always followed the recipe for Raisin Chutney found in Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions. It’s exquisite and really can’t be improved upon. Try it. You’ll agree.

Raisin Chutney Recipe

Makes one quart. From Nourishing Traditions.

The Players

  • 3 cups raisins, soaked in warm water for an hour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (stems removed)
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. coriander
  • 1 tbsp. anise
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup liquid whey (strained from yogurt, kefir, or raw milk) OR 1 tbsp. prepared vegetable starter culture (where to buy veggie starter cultures)
  • 1 cup filtered water


The How-To

Place garlic and cilantro in your food processor and pulse a few times. Drain the raisins and add to the food processor, along with the peppers and remaining spices. Pulse until the mix becomes paste-like.

Transfer to a quart-sized jar and press down with a wooden spoon to remove air pockets. Mix salt and whey (or starter culture) with water and pour into jar. You may need to poke a few holes in the chutney to help the liquid percolate through the jar. If necessary, add more water to cover the chutney. Leaving at least 1 inch of air below the top of the jar, cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2 days.

Transfer your Raisin Chutney to the refrigerator and consume within 2 months.

Want even more recipes for naturally-fermented goodies?

I highly recommend enrolling in Get Cultured! How To Ferment Anything. It’s currently on sale again for more than $50 off it’s regular price through May 22nd. The e-course is even recommended by fermentation expert Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet.

For more information about the class, click here.

(photo by Pewari)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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35 Responses to Raisin Chutney Recipe
  1. Jen
    May 10, 2012 | 1:52 pm

    I’m going to do this since I just bought a 5 pound box of organic raisins from Azure.

    What kind of serving suggestions do you have?

    • KristenM
      May 10, 2012 | 1:59 pm

      We use it on sandwiches for a pleasant kick, salads as a dressing, as a dip for things like sliced jicama, and on top of hamburger patties, cuts of chicken, pork chops, rice, you name it.

  2. Sierra
    May 10, 2012 | 1:56 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! What’s your favorite way to eat it? On toast? Straight off the spoon?

    • KristenM
      May 10, 2012 | 2:04 pm

      The honest answer is straight of the spoon. But, we eat it all kinds of ways. See my response to Jen above.

  3. Gia
    May 10, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    oh wow! I am making this right away! I looove raisins and I love them with foods that are savory and spicy as well (I’ve been known to eat them mixed in with olives). YUM.

  4. B
    May 10, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    Can you make it without the whey or veggie starter culture?

    I looked at the website of the starter you recommend and the ingredients show both sugar and skim milk powder, both of which I avoid.

    • KristenM
      May 10, 2012 | 2:55 pm

      You ought to be make it with any lacto-bacilli starter culture. Steal some of the brine from your sauerkraut, and you’d be set.

      I’ve only ever used whey and a veggie starter culture.

      Because it’s a sweet ferment, I’d hesitate to try to wild ferment it (too much risk of making alcohol or something else you don’t want).

      • B
        May 10, 2012 | 6:08 pm

        OK, thanks. BTW, what do you mean by “wild ferment”?

        • KristenM
          May 10, 2012 | 6:10 pm

          A wild ferment is when you don’t add a starter culture of a particular kind of bacteria, but just let the naturally-occurring bacterial cultures in the air and on your veggies/fruits cultivate and ferment.

  5. Pat Bitton
    May 10, 2012 | 3:59 pm

    Sounds good! Note: it’s “flair”, not “flare” :-)

    • KristenM
      May 10, 2012 | 4:01 pm

      Doh! That’s my second HUGE typo today. I wonder where I left my brain?

      (Going to fix it now…)

      • Vikki
        May 27, 2013 | 3:45 pm

        I’ve only used wild ferments for decades, didn’t know there was any other king!

  6. jacquie
    May 10, 2012 | 8:05 pm

    i’m not a huge fan of rasins (and yes i know they are good for me) could a different dried fruit be used? say apricots? or cranberries? of cherries?….

  7. Neva
    May 10, 2012 | 9:09 pm

    Jacquie, If you like apples I know there are recipes for apple chutney.

  8. Lee
    May 10, 2012 | 10:04 pm

    have heard you rave about the raisin chutney before and have wanted to try it – we love other chutneys from NT. Now that I see it calls for so much cilantro I’m not sure. I’m one of those minority people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. :( I have substituted flat leaf parsley for the cilantro in the L.F. salsa and mango chutney with good results. Is the cilantro integral to the flavor of the raisin chutney or can I sub something else? What do you think?

    • KristenM
      May 11, 2012 | 1:05 am

      Oh hard call. I *love* cilantro, so I *love* what it contributes to the chutney. You could always experiment. :)

    • Ann Duncan
      February 12, 2013 | 4:10 pm

      FYI – tho I absolutely LOVE cilantro, my husband more than absolutely DESPISES it, but when I served this to him, he (who typically can’t even just pick cilantro out of food cuz of the taste of it still being in there) was never the wiser about the ‘kryptonite’ ingredient and enjoyed it every time ;)

      • KristenM
        February 12, 2013 | 4:14 pm

        That’s hilarious!

  9. Carole
    May 11, 2012 | 12:59 am

    I’m one of those ‘cilantro tastes like soap’ people too. I’ve tried for years to get over it but not successfully. I was wondering about using basil or mint or a combo of all 3? Does the sugar content of the raisins transform into something else when they ferment?
    Thx! I’m new to fermenting so this is all a little scary.

    • KristenM
      May 11, 2012 | 1:06 am

      This is a short ferment (just a couple days), so the sugar doesn’t have the chance to turn into much else. It feeds the bacteria & yeast growing in the ferment, but the end result is still mildly sweet.

  10. Deborah
    May 12, 2012 | 9:00 am

    What an incredible sounding recipe! I will definitely make this. I like the idea of adding this to hamburgers, yum yum! And, I’d bet it would be great spooned over some heritage pork or chicken.

  11. Kimberly
    May 12, 2012 | 7:27 pm

    I just made some, I can’t wait to taste it in a couple of days! I did lick the spoon and the unfermented mix sure is delicious!!! I also am not a fan of cilantro, it reminds me of nail polish remover. :) But lately I like it in things and I think I will like this. Thanks for the recipe! (Just bought the book through your link.) :)

  12. Laura
    May 13, 2012 | 12:06 am

    Can I use Kombucha as my starter? Just curious because I have a lot of it and it’s tangy which is a flavor I imagine would be good in this condiment.

  13. holly may
    May 13, 2012 | 11:03 am

    question…it looks like you are reusing lids and jars from previous products. are those factory lids able to be reused safely? if you have the jars in a hot water bath are those lids able to reform their air tight seal?

    I have always used new mason jar seals when do my canning at home. But if I can just reuse other jars and lids I have from jams/jellies/pickles etc. that would save me some money and waste!

    • KristenM
      May 13, 2012 | 11:55 am

      This is not my picture. If you’re attempting to create an airtight seal, you need new lids with each use. It’s how mason jars are designed. That said, I never hot water bath can my ferments because I don’t want to kill the probiotic bacterial culture with the heat.

      • holly may
        May 14, 2012 | 1:03 am

        Thanks for the quick response :)

    • billy
      December 19, 2012 | 5:26 pm

      You can get reusable canning lids at
      It keeps you from having to throw away lids every time you use them.

  14. pk
    May 15, 2012 | 10:27 am

    “1 bunch” cilantro… can you be more specific?
    1 cup of leaves? 4 c. of leaves? Depends on your size “bunch”!

  15. Debra @ Blue Raven Wellness
    May 15, 2012 | 6:03 pm

    I’ve just made this recipe and set it on the counter to ferment, but I am a little confused about one thing. There is a layer of raisin mixture with a layer of whey/water sitting on top. I did poke holes in the chutney, but it’s still basically two layers. Do you eventually mix it in? It seems like that would make it too liquidy. Can you elaborate on this part of the recipe?


    • KristenM
      May 15, 2012 | 6:08 pm

      Yes, it should be mixed in. This chutney comes out like the mint, raisin, or plum chutneys you would get if you ordered an appetizer at an Indian food restaurant, and less like a chunky thick chutney you might make with apples for Thanksgiving dinner.

  16. Kimberly
    May 19, 2012 | 5:29 pm

    Just wanted to share- I poured some over some “cream cheese” that I had after draining the whey from yogurt and that makes a fantastic dip!!

  17. Lee
    July 23, 2012 | 12:29 am

    Thanks for the great recipe, this is my first lacto fermented recipe I have tried, and I’m wondering if I tip the excess liquid out of the jar before consuming? The chutney didn’t fill the bottle and there is quite a lot of liquid to bring it to one inch below the top. thanks

  18. Sherri
    April 9, 2013 | 9:28 pm

    I noticed your recipe doesn’t call for the 1 T. cumin seeds that N.T. has. Is that purposefully left out?

  19. Cara
    May 27, 2013 | 11:25 am

    Would some water kefir work to ferment this?

  20. Joy
    September 25, 2013 | 9:11 pm

    I saw a bit of a discussion on lids and…. I just can’t hold back any longer! You CAN reuse canning lids. You CAN use lids you have vacuum sealed with for canning projects. You CAN use lids you canned with for vacuum sealing. Honest!! All you have to do is check them over very carefully! Look for any gouges in the sealing material or dents in the top, or distortions on the rim from opening. Indents from a previous jar are fine if they are even all the way around. Please bear with me here.

    I have been canning for 40 years. I too bought into the advice that you should never, never reuse lids. At 10 or 25 cents a box I merrily threw all mine away after one use. My mother-in-law however reused her lids all the time. I thought that was just HORRIBLE. I told my sister-in-law “she just can’t do that, it’s not safe!” Funny, she never seemed to have a problem and no one got sick on her food. For at least 15 years now I’ve been doing as I suggested above and had NO problems. Nada. AND to top it off, this year I’m finding many of the new Kerr canning jars I’ve been buying have a bit of a vacuum to them and the lids are actually lightly sealed onto the jars…. with a bit of jar rim indentation on the lids.(I suppose it’s caused by some sort of temperature difference when they’re manufactured, assembled and packaged.) They are SEALED right there on their first go round. I’m definitely not throwing away those lids…. but they HAVE been sealed…..

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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