Friday, 6 November 2009

Apple and cranberry chutney

I only got into preserving this summer but I've already got a cupboard bursting with jars containing lovely delights. I was scared before I tried it for the first time, but it's actually rather easy, just mix together ingredients and simmer for a set amount of time. Chutney is a wonderful place to start because you don't even need to get it to a particular temperature like you do with jam-the acidity of the ingredients makes it perfectly safe. You don't need any special equipment-just a large saucepan (a stockpot is perfect, but for this sort of amount your largest saucepan will cope just fine) and some old jam jars.

I knew when I got the apples I'd make a chutney and then I found this recipe and knew it was the one to try. You are supposed to leave your chutneys, once made in tucked away in sterilised jars, for at least 8 weeks in order to "mature" but I had some pesky leftover couple of tablespoons that I couldn't resist eating.. if it tastes this good now it's only going to get better as the weeks go by. I've made an ale chutney in the past which is also lovely, but this one is light and fruity. I liked it so much I've already decided that I didn't make enough last time, so I'm going to repeat the recipe next week! Eaten here on black pepper crackers with Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire Cheese.

From Nigella's Christmas-Makes about 1 litre

1. Sterilise your jars (2x500ml, or equivalent). To do this you can use a dishwasher, or wash them in hot soapy water then place them in the oven on the lowest possible heat until dry (takes 5-10 minutes). For jams and chutneys I tend to use recycled jam jars, you only really need to buy Le Parfait/Kilner jars for bottling or any method that involves cooking the jars. You can buy separate lids for recycled jam jars at Lakeland if you lose any or they look corroded. If you don't know the volume your recycled jars hold, just estimate using water.

2. Put the following ingredients into your pan:

750g peeled chopped apples
250g dried cranberries (or other fruit if you prefer)
350g cider vinegar (or a nice white wine vinegar)
200g sugar
1 chopped onion
1 tsp ground turmeric
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cumin
2tsp Maldon sea salt (or a tablespoon rock salt)

3. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to let the pan cook on a fast simmer for about 45 minutes.

4. Ladle in to your jam jars whilst both are hot. Keep somewhere dark for at least 8 weeks to mature. They will last up to 12 months.

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