I'm not surprised that the fruit that tempted Eve was an apple. It is such a useful fruit. From sweet apple puree to flagons of frothy cider, the apple plays a major role in our lives.
It always troubles me when I see apples left unpicked on trees. We've had a great cooking apple harvest this year. Danny and I have spent the morning picking apples from the old trees in our tiny orchard. We are going to make cider this year and have a go at apple wine. So we left a great pile of them on the garden table to soften in the frosts.
If you do this it's easier to extract the juice. The ones that we pick from the tree are wrapped in newspaper and stored in cardboard boxes in the shed. The mice do nibble a few but the majority keep through the winter until we need them.
The windfalls don't keep. Even if they look good they are bruised when they hit the ground. We have loads of windfalls, so we decided to branch out and add apple chutney to our range. As with our plum chutney we wanted a fruit rather than a vegetable taste.
This delicate chutney is the result.
|Cottage Smallholder Apple Chutney recipe|
- 1.5 k of cooking apples
- 500g of onions
- 500g of sultanas
- 750g Demerara sugar
- 500ml of white wine vinegar
- Zest and juice of two lemons
- I small chilli
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp of cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ½ tsp of Maldon sea salt
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 tbsp of mustard seed
- Wash, peel, core and chop the apples fine
- Peel and chop and mince the onions (if you don't have a mincer chop them very fine)
- Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Then simmer very gently, bubbles barely breaking the surface, until the chutney has thickened, stiring every now and then.
- It is ready when drawing a spoon across the surface leaves a definite track mark. This will take at least four hours.
- Pot into warm sterilised jars with plastic lined lids (how do I sterilise jars and lids? See Tips and Tricks below).
- Don't use cellophane lids as the vinegar will evaporate through these and your chutney will dry up.
- Label when cold and store in a cool, dry place.
- Leave to mature for a month. The longer that you leave it to mature the better it will be!
Tips and Tricks
<strong>How do I get rid of tainted smells in pots?</strong>
If your cooking pot or container is tainted with the smell of the last resident (curry, tomato sauce etc). Sprinkle with a good tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda into it and add a good splosh of boiling water. Rub the solution over all surfaces and leave for two minutes. Rinse well in cold water.
<strong>How do I sterilise jars and lids?</strong>
The sterilising method that we use is simple. When the chutney is cooked, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c fan assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined metal lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.
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