Apples are my favourite autumn fruit, and we’re lucky to have a little apple tree that gives us a great harvest of delicious Cox apples, which means a flurry of apple-based cooking and baking at this time of year. Yum.
Making an apple chutney is a great way to use a fair chunk of the harvest, and making it in early November means it is beautifully matured by the time the cheese platters roll into our house in December. Jars of homemade apple chutney also make great gifts for the festive season.
Credit for this scrummy chutney goes to The Cottage Smallholder whose recipe I used almost exactly. The only difference is that their original recipe uses cooking apples, while I use eating apples which are sweeter, so I have amended the recipe to use about half the sugar which I think works great. If you’re using cooking apples (e.g. Bramley apples), please click on the link to follow their recipe. If you want to use eating apples, here’s the recipe for you (a printable-friendly PDF version is attached at the end):
Preparation time: depends on whether you’re doing all the chopping by hand or have helpful machines/staff. If it is the former, it’ll also depend on how fast you can chop. So let’s say between 15 and 60 minutes. Don’t let that put you off though; once the chopping is done and everything is in the pan, it’ll be so worth it!
Cooking time: about 4 hours of occasional stirring and enjoying the gorgeous aroma filling your home
- 1.5 kg of eating apples (weighed before chopping)
- 500g of onions (weighed before chopping)
- 500g of sultanas
- 400g demerara sugar
- 500ml of white wine vinegar
- Zest and juice of two lemons
- 1 small chilli
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ½ tsp of sea salt
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 tbsp of mustard seed
- Wash, peel, core and chop the apples finely.
- Peel, chop and mince the onions (if you don’t have a mincer, chop them very fine).
- Deseed and finely chop the chilli.
- Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Then simmer very gently on very low heat, bubbles barely breaking the surface, until the chutney has thickened, stirring every now and then. Don’t cover the pan.
- It is ready when drawing a spoon across the surface leaves a definite track mark. This should take about four hours.
- Pot into warm sterilised jars with plastic lined lids. (How to sterilise jars and lids: See Tips and Tricks below)
- Label when cold and store in a cool, dry place.
- Leave to mature for a month. The longer that you leave it to mature the better it will be!
Tips and Tricks
How do I sterilise jars and lids? Why do I need to use plastic-lined jars?
Here is a simple sterilising method: When the chutney is cooked, quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160°C (140°C fan assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature, turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while.
It is best to use plastic lined metal lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. Boil the lids for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If using Le Parfait jars, do the same with the rubber rings.
Don’t use cellophane lids as the vinegar will evaporate through these and your chutney will dry up.
This chutney, once sealed in sterilised jars, should last for about a year, so you can enjoy it for a long time. I love using this chutney with cheese and biscuits, in a ploughman’s sandwich, in a grilled cheese on toast, with roast dinner, with deli meats, and even just as a dip with crisps or pitta bread… it’s so versatile! How do you like your chutney? Do let me know if you make this one!
For your convenience, below is the link to a printable PDF version of this recipe. Enjoy!