Food Friday: Christmas Chutney!

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 26 - 2012

Before I start, I want to give a big shout out to Franky for not only providing the recipe, but also for completely inspiring me to take a chance on something I’d never attempted before.  I can’t tell you how much fun I had making the chutney and filling the flat with the delicious scent of Christmas.  And let’s not forget the intense satisfaction I get from opening the cupboard to check on my little jars of slowly-maturing chutney… something that I find myself doing more often than is strictly necessary!

What can I say?  I am a smitten-kitten for chutney-making… a process which feels almost soulful in its approach.  Jars full of genuine goodness, a whole lot of instinctive-cooking (the best kind), and just a touch of the crafty bits that I usually suck so badly at employing.  Chutney needs a little while to mature, so if you’re thinking of giving it a go for Christmas presents… I’d say get on it this weekend!

Just reading Franky’s Christmas Chutney recipe got me in the mood for the holiday season.  The list of ingredients alone had me whistling Jingle Bells before I’d reached the end of her post.  So be warned, I accept no responsibility if you’ve got the Christmas tree up and decorated by the time you reach the bottom of this page.

First things first, you’re gonna need some jars.

You can beg/borrow or steal empty jars from friends and family or you can do what I did and head for the value ranges at the Supermarket.  It’s horribly wasteful and I did feel very guilty knowing that I was buying perfectly good food with the intention of wasting the contents but I don’t intend to make a habit of it now that I’ve caught the chutney-making bug.  I hereby promise to wash and save all my jars in the future.  However, if you’re like me… I don’t mind sharing that the Asda Smart Price Sweet Pickle jars are pretty good for the job – the labels soak off cleanly in a few hours (hot, soapy water a must), they’re not too big AND they’re only 24p each.

From Franky’s recipe below, I was able to fill 7 of them.

You will need:

~ 750g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small (for me, that equated to around 1kg unpeeled apples)
~ 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped (I used two small onions)
~ 500g fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen (I used 1x 350g pack of frozen because of the expense)
~ 250g soft pitted dates, each date cut into 3 (I soaked dried dates overnight in boiling water and used around 300g)
zest, pulp and juice of 2 clementines/satsumas (I got bored of “zesting” after 30 seconds, so I liquidized the bastards)
~ 400g caster sugar
~ 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
~ 1 teaspoon ground ginger
~ 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
~ 500ml white wine vinegar
~ 2 teaspoons Maldon salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

The jars.  You’ll need to wash and sterilise – this is less daunting than it sounds.  For sterilising, simply arrange the (still wet) jars on a baking tray like this and leave to dry in a 150 degree celsius oven for around 30 minutes.  Don’t do this until you’re almost ready to fill them, they should still be warm when you spoon in the chutney to avoid cracking.  Top tip:  If you have jars with safety (pop up) lids, you can get these to depress by filling the jar, screwing the lid on tightly and then inverting the jar once.  Tip the jar back up the correct way and as it cools, the “button” should slowly invert back to its “safe” position.  Neat huh?

Ok, enough about jars…

Make yourself a big cup of tea and start peeling/chopping.

1. Place the apples, onion, cranberries and dates into a large pan.

2. Zest the citrus fruit over the top, squeeze in the juice and then scrape in the pulp.

3. Add the sugar and all the spices before pouring over the vinegar and sprinkling in the salt.

4. All that remains to be done is to give it a good stir, turn on the heat, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble, uncovered, for about an hour or until it has become a pulpy mass.

5. Spoon into your warm, prepared jars and seal.

The chutney can be made up to 2 months before using {or giving}. Indeed, the longer it has to ‘mature’, the better. It should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once opened, store in the fridge and consume within one month.

In terms of cost – each filled jar worked out at under £2 – including all decoration.  Not bad huh?  The more you make, the more cost-effective the process.  I wish I was crafty/savvy/clever enough to make all my own Christmas presents – it gives me so much pleasure… but for now, these are going to make great “topups” for the pressies that I’ve already squirreled away.

What do you think?  Will you give Franky’s recipe a go?


6 Responses to “Food Friday: Christmas Chutney!”

  1. Trona says:

    WONDERFUL. I made chutney for the very first time last year and loved it, I’m definitely going to try this recipe, thanks!

  2. Sophie says:

    Oh wow, this looks absolutely delicious and I love your decorations! Definitely going to try this out – I dunno what’s happened to me this year, my usual cynicism and general bah-humbug-ness has completely disappeared and I’m mega excited for Christmas. I made my mum spend £30 on tree decorations in Wilkinson the other day!

  3. Penelope says:

    Oh they look lovely, I haven’t done chutney for a few years (since the last glut of green tomatoes) but I really enjoyed it. This year is all jam and gin, vodka and rum flavoured with blackberries and sloes. More importantly, where did you get your stickers please? They’re beautiful.

  4. Wordbird says:

    LMAO at ‘liquidised the bastards’! 😀

    Fab chutney recipe – I may well give it a go myself – I am making a lot of stuff for Xmas this year, cos I’m skint. (Shit happens – hey, I’ve got a roof and shoes, I’m OK.)

  5. Sydney says:

    Those look wonderful.
    I am not a fan of Chutney myself but even I want to make some just so I can look at the little packaging and feel full of Christmas-ness.

    And thanks for the tip about the jars, very handy indeed :)

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