How to make homemade chutney for Christmas

What is chutney?

Making chutney is a way to preserve fruit and vegetables – typical ingredients used to make chutneys include tomato, mango, onion or apple.Sweet and tangy chutney is a savoury condiment, served with cheese, cold cuts of meat and salads. In the UK, chutney is part of the classic Ploughman’s spread, but the first chutneys are believed to come from India. Indian chutneys are often served with deep fried recipes such as pakoras and samosas, or crispy poppadoms. Our recipe for Amchur mango chutney should be eaten straight away and gives you a wonderfully hot, tart and sweet condiment. Alternatively our red Jalapeno & Cranberry chutney recipe is more of a Christmas classic. 

What is the difference between pickle & chutney?

Chutney recipes sit somewhere between sweet jams and tangy pickles. The main preserving agent in a chutney is vinegar but, unlike pickles, a chutney should also bring some sweetness so most recipes will include sugar. Many chutneys also include spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger or a slight chilli kick.

How to make homemade chutney

Homemade chutney is a great recipe to make for edible gifts for Christmas, or at any time of year. Chutney recipes can vary depending on the central ingredient. For instance, apples have a high level of pectin (a natural setting agent) so will need slightly less sugar than a lower pectin ingredient such as onions. However, the basic principle is always the same:

The 5 steps for making chutney at home

  1. Slice an onion and fry in a teaspoon of oil in a large pan

  2. Add your main ingredients (green tomatoes, mango, apples etc) as well as the flavours you’d like to add, such as spices, herbs or chilli. Add the sugar and vinegar from your recipe.

  3. Bring everything to the boil, then lower to a simmer and reduce the mix to create a thick, syrupy consistency.

  4. Transfer the chutney to sterilised jars while still hot, and allow to set with the lids sealed.

  5. Store in a cool dark place for about 2 weeks to allow the flavours to develop.

It's always best to start by following an established recipe before you experiement and riff yourself. 

Read our recipe for red Jalapeño Chutney here to find out exactly how to make chutney

How to make chilli and green tomato chutney at home for Christmas

How long does homemade chutney last in the fridge?

Once made, chutney can be eaten immediately but the flavours improve and develop if it is left to mature for a couple of weeks or even months. Store your unopened jars in a dry and dark cupboard for best results. Once opened, keep your chutney in the fridge and eat within four weeks.

What do you serve chutney with?

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy chutneys! Here are some of our favourite dishes that benefit from a spoonful of chutney:

  1. Transform toasted sarnies with a layer of chutney spread beneath the melted cheese.
  2. Try adding a dollop of chutney into savoury scone mix, for a hint of sweetness that tastes amazing with sharp tangy cheese or simply with melted butter.
  3. Chutney is a great addition for mince mixes, as the base for a sweet and meaty cottage pie or shepherd’s pie.
  4. Make your own sausages and include a dollop of chutney in the pork mince, (or simply serve your shop-bought bangers with a good chutney).
  5. Serve tangy fruit chutneys with fried Indian snacks such as pakoras and samosas.
  6. For a simple starter, bake small rounds of goats cheese and serve a spoon of chutney in the molten middles.
  7. No picnic is complete without a good chutney. Enjoy with pork pies, Scotch eggs, quiche and cold cuts of meat.

What is green tomato chutney?

A favourite with gardeners, green tomato chutney is incredibly easy to make at home – and a little harder to find in the shops. So if you find yourself with a glut of under ripe tomatoes, chutney could be the answer! 

And finally, if you’re still not convinced about making your own, here’s our selection of the best chutneys available to buy. Our choice includes spiced Indian chutneys, a rich ale chutney and the classic sweet mango chutney. 


Ferns' Sweet Mango Chutney, 440g

Ferns' sweet mango chutney is made from large chunks of fresh, hand-picked mangoes. A spoonful of this sweet, spicy chutney makes the perfect accompaniment to traditional Indian tandoori dishes, spiced lamb burgers and is even delicious dolloped on a vanilla cheesecake.

Ferns' Hot Mango Chutney, 440g

Ferns' hot mango chutney is made from large chunks of fresh, hand-picked mangoes. A spoonful of this sweet, spicy chutney makes the perfect accompaniment to traditional Indian tandoori dishes, poppadoms, spiced lamb burgers – and perhaps even shepherd's pie.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our pots and pans perfect for making a big batch of chutney.


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