If you read my blog regularly you will know I like to give (when I can) homemade gifts. For me, a preserve encapsulates traditional Christmas fayre.
Even The Duchess of Cambridge dusted off her pans and made strawberry jam to give to The Royal Family last Christmas.
Not that you have to give it all away of course. There’s a jar with my name on it maturing at the moment.
Simple Slow Cooked Christmas Chutney – Makes 4 Jars
((Having never made chutney before last Christmas, I adapted (because I just can’t help playing with things!) a recipe from Sarah Flower’s excellent book Slow Cook Fast Food. I highly recommend Sarah’s book )
You will need (follow either metric or imperial quantities):
1kg/2lb Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
500g/1lb Onion (chopped)
250g/½lb Cooking Apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
250g/½ Dried Fruit (mixture of cranberries and sultanas – you can add a little extra)
200g/0.44lb Muscavado Sugar
10ml/2 tsp Mustard Powder
10ml/2 tsp Ground Ginger (I use frozen cubes)
10ml/2 tsp Hot Chilli Powder
10ml/2 tsp Paprika
568ml/1 pint Malt Vinegar
Large Slow Cooker and 4 Jars
(I use a large cooker as the quantity of ingredients is slightly too much for a standard cooker and also a larger cooker will reduce the liquid more efficiently. If using a standard cooker I’d suggest halving quantities to create the same end result).
(please note that your house will smell of vinegar for a short while whilst cooking – so you may want to take this in account before starting on a day guests are due to arrive! ;-))
Roughly chop the tomatoes and apple
Chop finely the onion – I use a food processor for this
Place all in the pot and add the garlic, spices, powder, sugar, dried fruit and add black pepper to season
Pour in the bottle of vinegar
Stir thoroughly and place lid on the top – Leave on low for 8 hours
30 minutes before the end of cooking time sterilise the jars
I do this by washing the jars in hot soapy water and rinsing. I then leave to dry on paper towel for a few minutes before popping them in the oven, top down on a baking tray, on a low temp (approx. 100°C/Gas Mark 1) for 15 minutes.
Take care if using this method to sterilise, as the jars will be hot to touch. I leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before filling.
Once sterilised, fill each jar with chutney. Let any excess liquid drain away from the spoon. Slow cooking will mean the liquid doesn’t reduce entirely
Place a small piece of greaseproof paper on the top before securing lid
Leave to mature for at least a month before consuming
There’s nothing quite like holding a jar of homemade preserve in your hand is there?
*Don’t forget that as tempting as it may be to lift the lid and have a stir or a sniff of the lovely aroma, that every time you do it will increase cooking time by 20 minutes. Reduce the need to stir by always ensuring that you have stirred well when adding everything initially.
** Please note that I am not a qualified nutritionist or professional cook. My recipes are what I put together at home and all amounts etc… are approximate. What I write is my own experience of cooking the recipe. Ovens and ingredients do vary – just go with it, have fun and apply common sense at all times! Practice makes perfect!
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