As promised in my sneak peek, a post about preserving! I spent a very pleasant Saturday afternoon making this delicious Christmas Chutney. I love Christmas time. I think this time of year means different things for different people. For me personally, it’s a hectic time, but it is one filled with love.. For me, I only give to those I treasure all year round. Not only do I really love giving, I love giving presents that a personal. For the past four years, I’ve created Christmas Hampers filled with baked goodies. In 2010, I overcome my fear of preserving and included Jam and chutney.
While this year, due to time and work constraints I cannot to create large hampers as I usually have, these small jars still make the perfect present. Last year I fell in love with Nigella’s Christmas Chutney and it’s my pleasure to bring you this post.
The ingredients for this chutney are generally easy to find and inexpensive. However, it is extremely difficult to find frozen cranberries in my area. Last year my journey took me to 4 supermarkets in 3 suburbs. In February, I discovered these on sales and stocked up, with the forth-sight I wouldn’t have to go mad searching for them again. Yes, I am that organised.
Before you get started it’s absolutely crucial you sterilise the jars and lids. I use the method prescribed in Sally Wise’s A Year in the Bottle. If you are unsure how to sterilise please let me know and I’m more than happy to share.
I defrosted 600g of Cranberries. The recipe in Christmas only called for 500g but I decided to use the entire two boxes.
Peel core, and chop 750g of cooking apples. I used Granny Smith apples. You can chop them smaller but I don’t want the apples to completely break down by the end of the cooking process. I think it gives the chutney a nice texture.
Cut 250g of soft pitted dates into 3.
Peel and chop one medium-sized onion. I am going to take a moment to tell you how much I am in love with this handy little chopper. I detest chopping onions and this little gadget has saved me so much time (and tears!). It’s also handy for chopping many other foods, but I use it every time I need to chop onions.
The cranberries, apples, onion and dates and all placed into a pot. I use a stainless steel pot. I have used a heavy based pan but it didn’t work as well as the stainless still pot. I turned the stove on and had it on the lowest setting, while I added the zest, juice and pulp of one orange. If you have a volatile stove do not do this. You do need to keep a careful eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. I choose to turn it on to allow the ingredients to start to soften. (Nigella calls for a Clementine or a Satsuma)
In the pot add 200g of sugar*, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
*The recipe called for 400g of sugar but when I made it last year I found the chutney to be far to sweet. Adjust to taste.
Sprinkle some salt.
Add 500ml of white wine vinegar.
At this time, turn the stove on/up and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow the chutney to simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll need to keep and eye on it and give it the occasional stir. You will be able to see the apple, dates and cranberries break down and you’ll be left with a wonderful mixture.
The colour is a lovely deep red. Nigella describes it perfectly as a ‘pulpy mass.’ You don’t want a smooth mixture so I removed my pot from the stove after 50 minutes.
Ladle the chutney into jars. To make sure the jars become airtight I leave them upside down for about 10 minutes. If you don’t use a funnel (like me) you can then clean the jars by running them under hot water.
All up the process takes about 90 minutes at most.
If you are nervous about preserving this really is a great recipe to begin with, and it makes a perfect Christmas gift!
If you have any questions please ask!