The Cottage Smallholder

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No-Cook Apple, Date and Onion Chutney Recipe

ingredients for no-cook chutneyOur old friend, Kate Auty, makes this excellent chutney every year. It does not have to be cooked at all. In fact all you do is mince, mix and leave to mature. If you can leave the chutney longer than three months it will continue to improve. We let a jar mature for a year, it is treasured and strictly for family consumption.

It’s great for children to make, under supervision. By the time it has matured for three months the daily bleat of, “Is it ready yet?” has died down completely and they have forgotten that it is lurking in the larder. Then you will discover their tasty chutney and they will be stars.

Katey gave me a jar of this chutney a couple of years ago. It was so good that we hinted heavily for more and eventually the recipe. We couldn’t believe that a chutney this good is not simmered for hours.

Recipe for Kate Auty’s No-Cook Apple, Date and Onion Chutney


  • 1 lb/454g of cooking apples
  • 1 lb/454g of dates (stoned)
  • 1 lb/454g of onions
  • 1 lb/454g of soft brown sugar
  • 1 pt/570 ml of malt vinegar (we use cider vinegar)


  1. Wash, peel and core the apples and skin the onions.
  2. Mince the apples, dates and onions using the coarse profile.
  3. Put the minced fruit and onions in a large glass or china bowl.
  4. Add the sugar and vinegar.
  5. Stir very well and stir once a day for three days, keeping it covered closely with a clean tea towel against flies.
  6. On the fourth day bottle the chutney in sterilised jars with plastic lined screw top lids and label. (How do I sterilise jars and lids? Why do the lids have to be plastic lined? See Tricks and tips below).

Tips and tricks:

  • Katey says that she tried chopping (instead of mincing) the ingredients one year and the onion didn’t break down as much as the apple and date and remained crunchy which spoilt the chutney.
  • Why do I have to use plastic lined lids for chutney?

The vinegar eats into metal lids that are not lined. If you use cellophane jam pot covers the vinegar evaporates through these and you are left with a dried up mess in your jars.

  • How do I sterilise jars and lids?

The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the chutney, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c/140c for fan assisted. When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while so use oven gloves to take them out of the oven. I only use plastic lined 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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  1. Shuna Giles

    I have been making this recipe for over 40 years. My grandmother gave me the recipe but she always put in a tablespoon of pickling spice in a muslin bag which is removed after 24 hours of the ingredients marinating.

  2. Don scott

    Is a plastic mixing bowl ok

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