I love making jams and chutneys because it puts my jar collection to good use. I am a compulsive collector washing out all shapes and sizes of jar and saving them for future use. I can't bear to throw them away, but sometimes it gets a bit ridiculous when you can't actually close the cupboard door and I have to give in and put some in the recycling bin. Happily making jams and chutneys means some of my many jars eventually do get reused!
Ingredients - organic and local where possible which is not too difficult with this ingredients list although you might struggle to find organic root ginger and organic chillies:
1.8kg (4lb) Green Tomatoes
675g (1½ lb) Onions
- 450g (1lb) Cooking Apples
- 450g (1lb) Soft Brown Sugar
- 600ml (1 pint) White Vinegar
- 225g (8oz) Sultanas (or other dried fruit, you could use a mixture of what's to hand such as apricots, dates and raisins too)
- 25g (1oz) Root Ginger
- 8 Red Chillies
- 2 tsp Salt
What to do:
- Prepare your jars by washing and rinsing them thoroughly. Allow them to drain but don't dry them and then stand them in a baking tin. Put them into the oven on a very low heat 70 to 100°c which will dry them out and sterilise them. I put the lids in the tray too, but it depends which ones you're using if they have any plastic on them, leave them out of the oven!
- Wash the tomatoes and chop them, not too small, you probably want a medium sized tomato to make about 8 pieces.
- Peel and chop the onion and apples to about the same size.
- Put the tomatoes, onions, apple and ½ the vinegar into a big heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook until tender. Probably about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Peel the ginger and cut into a few large pieces, split the chillies lengthways and place inside a muslin bag. If you don't have one you can always use a square of muslin and tie it all into a bundle but make sure the chilli and ginger don't escape into the mixture, they'll make the chutney to hot if you do.
- Add the sultanas or other dried fruit.
- Continue to cook gently until the mixture starts to thicken stirring every now and then. This might take up to an hour
- Add the sugar, the rest of the vinegar and the salt. Stir until completely dissolved.
- Continue to simmer until the mixture becomes thick pressing the muslin bag occasionally with the spoon.
- The mixture is ready when it is thick enough that when you draw a line through it with the spoon it stays for a while.
- Remove the bag
- Fill your warm jars with the chutney. Do this carefully it can be messy if you miss and will burn you. I have a jam funnel for filling jars which makes things much easier, they are not expensive so if you intend to make jams and chutneys more than once it's worth getting one.
- Leave the jars to cool before applying labels, they won't stick otherwise
- Leave for 4-6 weeks before eating to allow the flavour to mature, but this will keep for many months (I have some that I kept for a couple of years and it was lovely when I opened it)
- Remember to write the date you made it and the date from which it can be eaten on the label. You will forget otherwise.