What is chutney?
Chutney originated in India, and is the name given to relishes made with fruits and vegetables, flavoured with spices. They can be fresh or cooked, and range from spicy to sweet to sour. When Britain colonised India, they brought chutney back with them.
Fruit and vegetables are cooked with vinegar, brown sugar and spices for a few hours, until a thick, sticky consistency is achieved.
How can I flavour chutney?
There are many ways to flavour chutney, be it using apples and cranberry, mango, or tomato. For this chutney, we’ve used chilli pepper flakes. Red chilli peppers are sweeter and earthier than their green counterparts. They’ve been left on the plant to ripen instead of being picked while green, which also makes them slightly hotter.
This recipe uses crushed chilli flakes, which can also be added into sauces and salsas, or simmer with vegetables and stock before blending for homemade soup with a touch of chilli warmth.
How long will chutney last?
Once you’ve made your chutney, it can be eaten straight away, but it’s best left for at least two weeks so that the flavours can really develop. After you’ve opened your jar of homemade chutney, it needs to be kept in the fridge. Keep it tightly covered, and eat it within four weeks.
What can I serve chutney with?
This fruity, festive chutney has a lingering warmth and is an ideal accompaniment to a cheeseboard or Boxing Day cold cuts. Homemade chutney also makes a lovely edible gift to give to friends and family.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat 1 large chopped onion for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
- Add 2 diced Bramley apples (there’s no need to peel), 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, a thumb of finely chopped root ginger, 150g dried cranberries, ½ tsp fine sea salt, 150g dark muscovado sugar, 100ml white wine vinegar, 1 sachet (8g) of crushed chilli flakes, and 500ml water.
- Stir until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 1 ½ hours or until the mixture is thick and pulpy. The chutney should not be too dry as it will thicken further on cooling.
- Transfer the hot chutney into a sterilised 500ml jar, or two 250ml jars and seal. Leave to cool, then store in a cool, dark place.
- The chutney can be eaten immediately, but, if you can it is better to wait for 2 weeks, as the flavour improves with time. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.