The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

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.

  Leave a reply


  1. I made this using a food processor and it was great. I did try one with a bit of curry spice added and it was very nice too, nice as is though too.

  2. Lynne

    Any thoughts on best type of mincer to use? Have battled through 2 batches with an electric mincer, but I think it’s intended for meat and it seems to struggle badly with juicy things like apples and onions. But it could be that the mincer’s just not in peak condition. Are others using manual mincers?
    Thanks, Lynne.

  3. Sue Bottomley

    I made this chutney in July 2007. I did two medium kilner jars and a few smaller jam jars. We gradually got through the smaller jars (after leaving it 3 months to mature), but have just opened one of the kilner jars and I can tell you that after 18 months maturing, the chutney is absolute pefection! I will be making some more asap.
    Thanks for the recipe and keep up the good work.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Gillian

    Thanks for the feedback!

  5. I made this chutney in September and gave some as gifts at Christmas. It’s fab! Will make a few more batches next year when my neighbours apples are ready.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Hayley

    This chutney must mature for three months and it will thicken as it matures!

    Hi Mel

    This chutney thickens at it matures. We leave ours for at least six months although you can open it after three.

    Jam and jelly can be guzzled on the day that you make them!

  7. Hi

    I’m new to this preserve making business and would like to ask if the chutney thickens in the jar, please? I’m about to jar it on day 4 and, while it has thickened since making, it is not a chutney thickness.

    May I ask if jams are ready to eat from the day of making or do they need time as well?


  8. I have also found my new batch of chutney to be a bit thin, i could pour it into jars, it resembles a sauce rather than a chutney, no chance of putting this in a sandwich, but then its only 1 day old, when will i see it start to thicken? I am worried i have done it all wrong. Did yours thicken after 4 days John?

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi John

    It thickens over time. Remember to stir it each day.

  10. Does the mixture thicken up over time, I have made a batch using the above recipe but after one day it seems a bit thin?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,290 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder