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. I now use clingfilm over the jars of all my preserves now. Then you can use any lids and nothing will run into the jars. Works fine for me and no mould.

  2. Shuna Giles

    My Grandmother handed down this recipe to my mother who in turn handed it down to me and I have made it ever since they both died in 1984 and 1992 respectively. I have it in both of their handwriting and it always brings back many happy memories.

  3. Jan Harris

    After sterilising do I leave the jars to go cold before putting the no cook chutney in them ?

  4. Lynn chamberlain

    I have made this chutney for the last 20 years or so. It came from a recipe phoned in on the “Jimmy Young” radio show. It’s title was “Chutney in the raw” and also had 2tsp mixed spice and 2tsp salt. Same other ingredients, the salt is needed for preservation and taste. But a fab recipe!!

  5. Am going to try this and the Piccalilli…sound great.

    Are kilner jars OK for storage? just worried about the rubber seal.

    Thanks for some great recipes, keep up the good work.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Shaun

      Kilner jars are fine! The rubber deals are good if sterilised first.

  6. I made several jars of this chutney last year – for the first time and…..wait for it……I received 1st prize in our Gardening Club preserves section.
    Plus it sells very well on my church stall.

    Thanks – it is so easy to do and takes so little time.

  7. Lunarkoru

    Could Cox apples be used for this recipe?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Lunarkoru

      Yes you can but add a a tablespoon of lemon juice to enhance the flavour. This is a neat trick for any recipe when only eating apples are to hand and cooking apples are called for.

  8. I’ve made this before, and it’s wonderful. However I did experiment with different fruits and spices – The recipe is a brilliant starting point. I suppose it’s the relatively high level of vinegar and sugar that make it “keep” as well as the cooked versions do. Therefore I wonder how important it is to sterilise the jars? after all, the chutney itself is not sterilised by cooking, and lasts OK. It seems a bit unnecessary to sterilise the jars when the chutney has been maturing, unsterilised in an unsterilised container for days already!

  9. I’m just bumping this up into the recently commented section as it’s such a great recipe. Get out there and gather those apples!

  10. can you cook this chutney like you would cook any other or will it spoil

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