Homemade Gift Idea – Apple and Red Onion Chutney

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Stop Press!! Howard from the Great British Bake Off likes my blog! This year’s winner, Frances, and Ruby have both favourited it on Twitter!

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All I need now is Queen Mary to love it and I can die happy. Something tells me this might not happen anytime soon…

I digress. Onto yummy Christmas treats.

Every year I ask people to save jars for me for my Christmas gifts, and once I have enough I try to decide what I’m going to do with them! This way I can give out nice presents and don’t have the added expense of going out to buy the jars – they’re not cheap you know!

A couple of days ago, our lovely neighbours asked if we would like some fallers from their apple tree. How could I say no?!

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They gave me a huge bag with more apples than I’m going to be able to use. Proper rustic ones as well. I started looking through lots of recipes and didn’t find anything which was quite right. So I took a bit from this and a bit from that and came up with…

Apple and Red Onion Chutney.

The hardest and most labourous bit is preparing the apples. Which, actually, is not hard at all. So you should find this recipe very easy to make. Just make sure you have a couple of hours on your hands as it takes a while to cook, but you can get on with other things, because you don’t need to stand over it stirring away.

This recipe should make about 3-4 jars of chutney.

Ingredients

450g (approx 7 small) red onions

450g apples (you can use cooking or big firm eating apples eg Braeburn)

125g sultanas

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

300g light brown sugar

200ml cider vinegar

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

Method

— Sterilise your jars by washing them thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse, and put them upside down in an oven on low heat (about 110 degrees Celsius) until they are dry. Then take them out and use immediately if possible.

— Chop the red onions into 1 cm sections. Peel, core and chop the apples, and cut them into small dices, about the same size as the onions. I had a bowl of water and put the prepared apples in there to keep until I was ready to use them, to prevent any browning.

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— Put all ingredients into a large pan over a low heat and slowly bring to the boil. Stir every few minutes to make sure it’s not sticking at the bottom.

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— Once the mixture has boiled, gently simmer. Stir about every ten minutes or so. My chutney took about 1 hour 20 mins to reach the correct consistency, but yours may vary. Essentially, you want it to be a nice, deep red/brown colour, to be sticky, and for the mixture to hold when you drag the spoon along the bottom of the pan. There should only be a very small amount of liquid remaining.

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— Whilst the chutney is cooking, cut circles of grease proof paper slightly larger than the mouths of your jars. When the chutney is ready, spoon into the jars, put the grease proof lid on top, then seal with the jar lid. This grease proof layer will stop the vinegar reacting with the metal lid and the chutney going off. Be sure to seal the metal lids straight away, whilst the chutney is hot, and then leave to cool down.

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You can use the chutney straight away, but I find it’s best to leave it a week or so to let the flavours develop. Store in a cool, dark place and this will keep for AGES.

You could give this in a little hamper with some cheese and homemade oatcakes, or serve it with cold meats or in a sandwich.

What’s your favourite chutney recipe? Let me know if you try this and how you get on!

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2 thoughts on “Homemade Gift Idea – Apple and Red Onion Chutney

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