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Preserving the Season – Chutney

Preserving the Season – Chutney


chutney harvest oct 2012

Adapt your chutney to whatever you have in the garden. Courtesy, School House Garden.


This week, as hope of any remaining tomatoes ripening wanes –  and apples fall abundantly, we share our yummiest chutneys.


To our mind chutneys should be a chunky affair, something scooped with great relish in large dollops onto doorsteps heaped with a thick slab of salty cheddar – Mull Cheddar is our preference. Or as an accompaniment to cold meaty leftovers, in this case and especially if there is any chance of a jaded palate – as is often the case when feasting leftovers are around, we crave something with a bit of a kick, not too fierce but definitely something that will dance on the tongue. And finally we also need something a little spicy tucked away in our store cupboard, something rich, infused with cinnamon and cloves that when opened (not before December), immediately conjures up the warmth and aromas of the festive season.



Tomatoes have been very late this year and green tomatoes are unlikely to ripen now. Make the most of yours. Courtesy School House Garden.


De Kas Tomato Jam


If our experience is anything to go by then the tomato crop is abundant, but late and reluctant to ripen, Sarah Raven’s De Kas Tomato Jam is the perfect way to upscale a crop en route to the compost heap. Sarah recommends it as a topping on melted goat’s cheese toast – as a dinner party starter. Please note this recipe works just as well with ripe tomatoes.


Makes 2 450g (16oz) jars


1.5kg tomatoes (green, red, orange – any)

2 star anise

5 cardamom pods

2-3 tsp coriander seed
(or less if you’re not so keen – I love lots)

1 tsp juniper berries

5 cloves

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 vanilla pod

1 orange

1 lemon

300g white sugar



Halve the tomatoes and scrape out the seeds. Then roughly chop them and put into a large, heavy-based saucepan.


Cook spices altogether in a frying pan until they begin to pop. Grind to quite fine in a pestle and mortar.

Split the vanilla pod and add to the tomatoes in the pan and then add the rest of the spices. Add the zest and juice of the orange and lemon.


Then add the sugar and salt and stir on a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves.

Simmer for about 30 minutes until it has reduced and thickened (by about one third). Test for setting – with a drop on a cold saucer in the fridge.


Pour into sterilised jars, cover and label. Keep in the fridge after opening.


Courgette Goldrush

Courgette Goldrush. Use whatever you have for courgette glutney, squash, beets, plums – throw it all in. Courtesy School House Garden.


Courgette Glutney


It’s been one hell of a summer and up here in Scotland our courgettes are only now throwing out fruits with mid-summer abandon. Of course, it won’t last but while it does there isn’t much hope of getting through them all, so we’ve turned to an old favourite to preserve them, a classic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. If your courgettes have come and gone, fear not, just substitute the courgette with squash. In fact pretty much anything you’ve got can go in the pot, plums, pears, or pumpkin.

Makes about 10 jars.


1kg courgettes, unpeeled if small, cut into 1cm dice

1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped

1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced

500g onions, peeled and diced

500g sultanas or raisins

500g light brown sugar

750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water

1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes (you decide how hot you want it)

1 tsp salt


For the spice bag

1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped

12 cloves

12 black peppercorns

1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds

A few blades of mace


Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.


Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.


Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.


Pour into sterilised jars, cover and label. Keep in the fridge after opening.

Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving.



Apples harvest. Courtesy School House Garden.


Spiced Apple Chutney


This is a super-easy, entry -level chutney: the perfect candidate for a family Sunday activity that should be preceded by picturesque children truffling around in long grass for windfalls. Though in our experience windfalls are usually deployed as weapons in some inter-sibling warfare and what was billed as wholesome family fun becomes a solitary vigil at the stove as the children inevitably lose interest. Nonetheless it’s worth the effort and perhaps you live in more charmed, peaceful surrounds. It hails, as the effortless classics often do, from an unattributed source at BBC Food. We’ve been making it for years.


Makes ¾ 450g jars


225g onions, chopped

900g apples, cored and chopped

110g sultanas, raisins or chopped dates

15g ground coriander

15g paprika

15g/½oz mixed spice

15g/½oz salt

340g granulated sugar

425m pints malt vinegar


Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan. Slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved.


Simmer for 1½-2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan.


When it is very thick and you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid, the chutney is ready.


Turn into sterilised jars, seal and cool.


Store in a cool, dark cupboard for two to three months before eating.


If you get going now all your chutneys will be ripe and ready Christmas. They make the perfect little gift to take to drinks parties, or for teachers and neighbours.