Adventures in Chutney
Making your own chutney may seem a little daunting, but once you have a go you’ll find it’s easy and fun to do. Be warned though, if you are anything like me and love seeing your homemade produce lined up in your cupboard, you may find it strangely addictive! Here’s what you’ll need…
- A saucepan – a nice big stainless steel or enamel one is what you need (other metals like copper and aluminium may react with the vinegar). You can get pans specifically designed for making preserves but you certainly don’t need one of these- just make sure the pan you use is plenty big enough.
- Jars – Use glass jars which can be sealed. Old jam jars are fine provided they have a plastic coating inside the lid rather than bare metal.
- A knife and chopping board for preparing all your lovely fruit and veg.
- A ladle and long-handled wooden spoon, and possibly a wide-necked funnel for getting your chutney into the jars with minimal mess.
- Chop your main ingredients into similar sized chunks so that they cook evenly
- Simmer your chutney until the fruit and veg is soft and the mixture has thickened- a good test is to make a line in the mixture with your spoon, and if it doesn’t immediately fill with liquid and disappear, it’s good to go.
- Wash your jars thoroughly then sterilise them by putting them in the oven at a very low temperature until they are dry; this will help keep your chutney from going off once it’s sealed in the jar.
- When putting the chutney into jars make sure any large air pockets are pushed out of the chutney (e.g. with a wooden spoon) as this will help to increase its storage life.
- Leave the chutney for a couple of months before opening, during which time the vinegar flavour will soften and the chutney will mellow and mature.
Tips for the perfect chutney
Try making chutneys with different vinegars and fruits. Other tasty ideas are mango and apple, spiced courgette, tomato and sultana – the list goes on. Experiment and see for yourself!
Can’t wait to give it a go? Have a look at our simple apple chutney recipe which makes a great starting point!