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Homemade presents: spiced apple chutney

Homemade presents: spiced apple chutney

Autumn is the season in which to really revel in good food. These are the months most bounteous with their offerings from the allotment, the farmer’s market and the hedgerow. Abundance is the order of the day. And so, an equal generosity of spirit is called for from you, the cook. Lavish attention on the harvest with a certain slowness, be that in the cooking, the preparation or the pickling time. Here’s a spiced apple chutney recipe to encourage just that, and to make the most of the last windfall of apples. A proper slow and steady celebration of autumn’s fruitfulness. Makes enough for four half-pint jars.

What you’ll need

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
350ml apple cider vinegar
110g dates, pitted and chopped
110g shallots, minced
75g sultanas
40g crystalised ginger, chopped
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp sea salt flakes
½ tsp cardamom
Sterilised jars with seals (see cook’s notes)

What to do

  1. Find a medium-sized pan and fill with all of the ingredients to the left. Give them a good stir and place the pan on a high heat.
  2. Bring the pan to the boil. Once bubbling, reduce to a medium-high heat.
  3. Let it cook for 40–50 minutes, stirring every now and then so it doesn’t stick. You’ll know when to stop when the chutney doesn’t look so watery and the apples are soft enough that you can mush them. Then lower the heat and let the mixture thicken. This can take up to ten minutes.
  4. Spoon out the cinnamon stick and star anise pieces. Have a little taste of the mixture to check you’re happy. If you’d like it spicier, add a little more chilli. If you’d like it sweeter, pop in another diced date.
  5. Portion the mixture into your jars and dunk them into a tub filled with hot water for 15 minutes. The water should only come up to the jar lid, and not above it just in case any water gets into the jar.
  6. Once the 15 minutes are up, carefully take the jars out and pop them onto a tea towel to dry. When they’re cool enough to handle, you can store any sealed jars at room temperature, but any unsealed ones will need to go into the fridge and used within a few days. So try to use sealed if you can to make life easier.

Cook’s notes

It’s important to put the chutney into thoroughly clean jars. Wash them in hot soapy water, but don’t dry them. Leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray, and then pop them into a pre-heated oven at 160ºC for about 15 minutes. Take them out just before ladling in the chutney – that way, everything is squeaky clean and ready to be sealed.

This recipe is taken from the 15th volume of our seasonal lifestyle anthology, Stories. To discover the other three recipes included – as well as articles on interiors, craftsmanship, nature, heritage and how to live well – order your free copy online here.

Tags: Recipes