Gluts of cheap autumn fruit are easily turned into delicious, tangy chutneys ready for eating at Christmas, no culinary expertise required. Quantities can easily be doubled if you want to make extra chutney as gifts for friends and family (hint: you do!).
Remember to sterilise your jars…
There are three simple methods for making sure your jars are free from bacteria before you fill them with preserves (who wants mouldy fruit chutney?!). The microwave method is fastest and most energy-efficient, so we recommend you opt for that if you have one to hand.
1) Microwave method
Wash the jars out well and leave the jars a little wet. When your fruit chutney is hot and ready to place into the jars, microwave smaller jars for 30 seconds; larger for 45 seconds.
2) Oven method
Pre-heat the oven to 130°C. Arrange the jars on their sides on the shelves so they aren’t touching each other; close the door and leave them for at least 20 minutes while your chutney finishes cooking. Remove the jars with an oven mitt and fill with the hot chutney straight away.
3) Dishwasher method
If your dishwasher has a high temperature setting or a steam setting you can use it for sterilising jars. Fill with cleaned out jars and time the finish of the cycle for when your chutney will be ready.
- Fill jars halfway with cold water.
- Heat jars in the microwave on high for around three minutes or until the water boils.
- Place jars upside-down in the oven.
Make sure your jars are free from cracks and chips. Don’t use old jam jar lids if they are rusty or damaged as they may not make a good seal. Keep these jars for storing bits and bobs such as odd screws or stationery bits and bobs. Use jars that have a lid with a decent looking seal with no nicks or scratches.
***Important! Do NOT add cold food to hot jars or vice versa, otherwise the glass will shatter. Always time the sterilising of the jars so they’re ready when the chutney is still hot.***
Plum and apple chutney
Time: Prep 25 minutes, cook one hour.
Makes: About five 250ml jars.
- 1kg plums – peeled, stones removed and chopped
- 1kg apples – peeled, cored and chopped
- 200g granulated sugar
- 150g light brown soft sugar
- 250ml cider vinegar
- 100g sultanas
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 2 tbsp root ginger, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 to 4 tsp dried red chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it!)
Put all the ingredients into a large casserole or heavy pot. Boil, reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer for up to an hour, stirring often, until the plums and apples are tender to the point of a knife and the chutney is thickened. Carefully ladle the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal. You can eat your chutney straight away or store in a cool dark place for at least a month to allow the flavours to develop. Keeps for up to two months in the fridge once opened.