By Pat Crocker

If you are looking for a very different preserve, this is it. Using dried cherries in chutney is unusual, and if you have fresh, you can use them in this recipe as long as you reduce the amount of water. Look for the smallest pickling onions you can find. The tartness of the cherries makes this chutney ideal for serving with rich foods such as pâté, pork sausages and duck. I also serve it with roast turkey as a change from cranberry sauce.

Makes about 8 cups

3 cups garlic cloves
3 cups red or white pearl or pickling onions
juice of 2 large lemons
2 cups dried cherries
3 pears, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 ¼ cups red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp pickling salt
2 tbsp pickling spice, tied in a cheesecloth bag
1 ½ cups water

In a Maslin pan or canning kettle, combine garlic, pearl onions, lemon juice, cherries, 1 ½ cups of the pears, vinegar, sugar, salt, spice bag and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the onions and garlic are tender.

Meanwhile, heat four 1-pint (2-cup/500 mL) jars in boiling water, and scald the lids, lifter, funnel and tongs.

Stir the remaining 1 ½ cups of pears into the mixture in the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, just until pears are slightly soft but still holding their shape. Skim off and discard any foam. Fill hot jars, leaving a ½-inch (1 cm) headspace. Run a thin non-metallic utensil around the inside of the jar to allow air to escape. Add chutney, if necessary, to leave a ½-inch (1 cm) headspace. Wipe rims, top with flat lids and screw on metal rings. Return jars to the hot water bath, topping up with hot water if necessary. Bring to a full rolling boil and process jars for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars to a towel or rack to cool completely. Check seals, label and store in a cool place for up to 1 year.

From Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons, by

Pat Crocker. © 2011 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.