Yet again, I am pinching the pennies for Christmas – but really wanting to make something thoughtful, last year it was homemade sweets (honeycomb, peppermint cremes and fudge) this year it’s bracelets, necklaces, autumn leaf art, Apple Chutney and Apple Jelly.
This was my first foray into chutney making, I looked at lots of recipes online and read the criticisms too sweet/ to vinegary and worked out the magic formula (I hope). My formula hinges on whether your apples are cookers or eaters thus:
Sugar to fruit/veg mix ratio:
1:3 for cooking apples
1:6 for eating apples.
Because of their tarter taste, cooking apples can make up a larger percentage of the fruit/veg mix (up to 75%)
Here is my recipe, penned (or rather, pencilled) by my own fair hand:
So, step one, for maximum frugalness, beg or scrump some apples, mine are from the in-laws garden (n.b. not actually married, but in-laws is so much easier than ‘my boyfriend’s parents’) here are said apples, lovely windfalls from a couple of different trees:
The smaller green ones tasted like cooking apples, and the larger red and green ones like eaters, so I ended up with a mixture.
Cut up apples and onions, and combine with sugar and vinegar on the hob. Cook until pulpy – I was making spag bol too at the time, so my timing is a little hazy, but I think I let it bubble away for about half an hour while I cut up the dates and made dinner.
You then choose your spices and add them, the dates and the sultanas to the pan.
I cooked it down until it was pretty thick, then blended it a little with a hand blender – my partner doesn’t like chutney too lumpy so I thought a slightly less chunky mix would go down better, I guess you could blend it completely smooth, but I like a bit of texture.
I then filled my jars with a genius – if I say so myself – funnel made from the top of a milk carton:
Now my jars just need painted lids and labels – the white lids here have been painted with nail varnish to hide the black text, but I think they’re still too plain and contrasting, I might get some fabric to tie around the top, or perhaps just some Christmas wrapping paper.
I’m going to open a jar up in a few days and test it out, I forgot to add a tsp of salt to my mix and I hope it’s not a fatal flaw, but if I have to scoop out all the chutney, heat it back up and re-jar it I will. Besides, two of that jars might have that happen anyway as they’re a bit big, just need to see where I can buy some smaller jars which won’t cost a fortune. All the jars I have here are saved from tomato sauces/ honey/ preserves etc.
Happy Chutney making!