I just love making preserves – jams, jellies, marmalades, pickles and chutneys. They each have their season – jams and jellies mainly in the summer, marmalades in January and February when the Seville oranges are available, and pickles and chutneys in the autumn, ready for Christmas. When I look in my cupboard and see all my jars I have a warm, satisfied feeling probably similar to a squirrel surveying the nuts hoarded for the winter.
This week I have been making my Christmas Chutney. This rich sweet spicy chutney uses the dried and glacé fruit that we use in Christmas cakes and puddings. It is perfect on Boxing Day with your cold turkey. Most chutney recipes suggest allowing chutney to mature for a month before using so there is time to make this for Christmas, but don’t worry if you haven’t got time this week. I often use my chutney only a week or so after making it.
Christmas ChutneyCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Medium
12 ounces / 350 grams dried apricots
8 ounces / 225 grams dried dates (pitted)
8 ounces / 225 grams dried figs
4 ounces / 110 grams mixed candied peel
6 ounces / 165 grams raisins
4 ounces / 110 grams glacé cherries
3 medium oranges zest and juice
14 fluid ounces / 400 ml cider vinegar
14 fluid ounces / 405 grams soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
- Roughly cut up the dried apricots, dates and figs. I find a pair of scissors quicker and easier than a knife for this job.
- Cut the glacé cherries in half and if your candied peel is not the ready chopped variety cut that up too.
- Put all he dried and glacé fruit into a large bowl and add the zest and juice of the oranges.
- Stir the mixture, then cover and leave to stand for at least 3 hours. If it is more convenient it can be left overnight. The dried fruit will absorb the juice and become plump.
- Transfer the contents of the bowl to a preserving pan or a large saucepan.
- Add the spices and salt and vinegar to the pan.
- Bring to the boil over a moderate heat stirring frequently.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, again stirring frequently until the fruit softens and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
- Bring the mixture back to a simmer, stirring all the time, as once the sugar is added the mixture will burn more easily.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring all the time until the mixture is thick, shiny and sticky.
- Spoon into sterilised jars while hot. You should have enough to fill four one pound jars.
Christmas Chutney Storage
Leave the chutney to mature before using. Ideally leave it for a month but it can be used after a couple of weeks. Store in a cool place and it should keep for up to a year. Opened jars should be stored in a fridge. It doesn’t tend to last that long in my house as it all gets eaten or given as a gift over Christmas.
Next week I will be continuing with Christmas preparations and will share my recipe for the orange pastry I use for mince pies. Combined with my homemade mincemeat this pastry makes very special mince pies.