Generic Chutney Method

A generic method for making chutney.

  1. Don’t use bruised or nasty fruit/veg. Chutney’s a good use for windfalls etc but “The Book*” points out that you should only put in the good bits.
  2. Chop all veg / fruit. You can somewhat dictate the final texture by how roughly or finely you do this. The Book recommends mincing the ‘base’ ingredients to achieve a smooth chutney but personally I like my chutney a bit chunky.¬†Peel, core and roughly chop apples, although I have experimented with unpeeled apples it’s not recommended and I haven’t tasted that chutney yet!
  3. Put everything in the pan and simmer gently (without a lid) till fruit and veg are cooked. Like Jam, you can experiment with leaving the sugar ’till later which will leave more original colour in the final product. I’m experimenting with this, but I’m not sure if I might prefer all my chutney to be brown.
  4. Raise the heat a bit and cook. It needs to reduce down quite a lot (50%? depends on how watery the fruit/veg is). You can leave it a bit initially, but as it reduces down you’ll need to keep stirring otherwise it can catch. As it gets quite thick take a bit out and put it on a plate and leave it to cool for a minute, if it looks /feels /tastes like chutney consistency ¬†then it’s ready. You can aim for a very slightly runny consitency at this stage as it does thicken a bit once it’s rested.
  5. Pot into hot jars; leave for 3 months before eating

Other notes: use a big pan, the stuff is hot and splattery although it doesn’t boil up high like jam. Beware American recipes sites if you want British chutney, they seem a bit odd to me. Websites say to boil for 3 hours – this seems like an awful lot to me, usually an hour seems to do the trick although I might be missing something I suppose.

For more info I’d suggest The Book, but I’m not sure it’s that easy to find. On a side, I think this book is fab, from an era when governments wanted us to make our own food and preserve our fruit and veg. I think the food lobbying industry would go nuts if they government tried that now days.