Orchard Chutney

I really appreciate a stash of home made chutney and flicking through Thane Prince’s book, Perfect Preserves, the sound of Orchard Chutney chimed with me. It makes plenty from inexpensive, easily accessible ingredients and is so good that I’ve now made it twice. I buy £1 bags of small eating apples and pears from my Farmers Market which is what I used although Thane suggests a proportion of quinces. The chutney can be eaten straight away but is better if left to mature for a couple of weeks stored in a cool, dark place, it could last a year (not in my house it wont).

Yield: 10 or 12 x 350g jars

Prep: 90 min

Cook: 60 min

80g garlic

60g ginger

600ml cider vinegar

10cm cinnamon stick

5 cloves

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

200g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, pitted prunes)

1 tbsp sea salt

300g soft light brown sugar

600g onions

1.5kg apples, pears and quinces

     Crack all the garlic with something heavy, flake away the skin, coarsely chop and place in the bowl of a liquidiser. Peel and chop the ginger, add to the bowl with 100ml of given vinegar. Blitz to a milky puree. Grind cinnamon and cloves in a spice mill or pound to dust using a pestle and mortar (the later is a tiresome job but works eventually). Place garlic puree, ground spices, chilli flakes, dried fruit, salt, sugar and remaining vinegar in a very large, lidded saucepan. Halve, peel and finely chop the onion and tip into the pan (add the lid to trap the odour). Quarter, core and peel apples and pears and chop in small pieces. Add to pan. Place the pan over a low heat. Stir well and then frequently until the sugar dissolves then cover with the lid. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes, remove the lid and increase the heat slightly so the chutney simmers steadily until thick and cohesive. Stir often, allowing about 40 minutes. To test the chutney is ready, pull a wooden spoon through the centre. If both sides stay apart it’s ready, if not simmer on for a few more minutes. Rest for 5 minutes then spoon the chutney into hot jars (a jam funnel avoids mess), pressing firmly. Fill to the shoulders of the jars, not up to the neck. Screw the lids loosely, cool then tighten the lids and label the jars. Done.