Make Ahead

Spicy Lacto-fermented Pear Chutney

December 11, 2009
4 Ratings
  • Serves 1 quart
Author Notes

Here is an unusual savory chutney recipe that works well with many types of fruit. I consulted recipes for lacto-fermented fruits in two books-Wild Fermentation and Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats- before I came up with this recipe. I was honestly skeptical about this one, but it’s really quite tasty, not to mention healthy. You can make a larger batch and give small jars as gifts; it's nice served alongside winter meat or poultry dishes and as a savory applesauce alternative on potato pancakes. Make sure to tell the gift recipient to store this in the refrigerator; it's best if consumed within two months. —WinnieAb

What You'll Need
  • 3-4 pears, cored and chopped (to equal about 3 cups of fruit; you could also try this with apples, plums, peaches, mango, pineapple, grapes, or papaya, or use a combination of fruit)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashews or pecans, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • 1 leek or 1 onion or the bottoms from 3-4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (or more if you really like it) grated ginger
  • 1-2 hot red chili peppers, fresh or dried, chopped (I used 1 dried ancho chili- plenty spicy for me)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) filtered water
  • 1 quart or 2 pint or 4 one cup size very clean glass jars with lids
  1. Mix fruit and nuts together in a bowl. Add salt, lemon juice, onion and spices, and mix well.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, pack tightly into jar(s). Pound down so that the fruit is quite compressed and the liquid rises. Add water as necessary to bring liquid level with the fruit mixture, which should be about 1 inch below the top of the jar (you need to leave a little room for expansion during fermentation).
  3. Keep at room temperature 2-4 days (open to check if it’s fizzy/bubbly as this will confirm fermentation) before transferring to the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sagegreen
  • AntoniaJames
  • mrzach
  • WinnieAb
I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook. My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014. I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.

6 Reviews

Sandy November 13, 2017
I may be way too late to receive feedback as only just found this great recipe but can you tell me whether you put muslin on top of the jars, a screw top, or nothing at all, please: including which top at which stage. thank you,
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
This looks just wonderful. I am getting to know a local company who specializes in this process; they call themselves Real Pickles. There is so much history behind the fermentation story and so many health claims as well that this is really very worthy of more attention!
AntoniaJames September 27, 2010
Well, pears at long last have made it to our local markets. I have a nice big bag of them patiently waiting this recipe. My question: how much lemon juice, by volume, do you use here? My lemons are rather small (but juicy). I'm concerned about getting the right amount of juice, knowing that the acid is key for the fermentation process. I'll probably try this recipe with apples, too. I'm totally hooked on lacto-fermented pickles and the mint chutney (to which I add an equal amount of cilantro) from Nourishing Traditions. I'm looking forward to making this soon!! Thank you. ;o)
WinnieAb October 4, 2010
Hey AJ,
So sorry I did not respond earlier! Honestly, I don't know exactly how much lemon juice it was by volume, but I would use 2 if your lemons are small. Interested to hear how it turns (or turned, if you already made it) out ;) ps I haven't done that mint chutney- will have to try it, soon.
mrzach May 11, 2010
This recipe looks right on! I have just made it with a few substitutions. I like that you let the fresh and dried fruit be the sugar without using a salt sugar brine. I have made many lacto chutneys and krauts as well as other stuff and I love finding other's recipes for creative flavors in the nutrient dense traditions. Thanks for posting.
WinnieAb October 4, 2010
You are welcome, mrzach...sorry it took me so long to reply, somehow I never saw your post...glad to hear you made this recipe (or something quite similar) and hope it turned out to your liking.