Making your own chutneys at Christmas is a joy! A jar of homemade chutney is such a lovely gift and is so special to crack open at this time of year. The gift of chutney!
This is a traditional-ish recipe with less sugar and a very decent kick of spices. I have made chutneys and jams with chia seeds and no sugar etc, but my Auntie Betty would approve of this one and at Christmas, Auntie Betty know best!
This festive time is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the bounty of the year, all those tantalising tubs of things we’ve been keeping in cupboards, tucked away for a special occasion, finally get dusted off and shared with loved ones. We have loads of interesting little foodie bits that have been amassed from food fayres and markets this year and have no idea how we can form a cohesive, tasty meal out of them? I’m sure we’ll figure something out! Theses pots and parcels have many positive memories attached to them.
We’ve been getting some wonderfully sweet pears at the minute and really relishing them. This is the ideal time to think chutney and preserving, when there is a glut, the jars come out! When made in bulk, things like chutney are easy and cost effective. I know we are all a little busy at this time of year, but this is something I think you’ll squeeze in. The flavour is worth it!
This chutney could hardly be easier, pop in a pan and simmer. The results are suitably chutney, like a tangy taste explosion! I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in here, as I find most chutneys way too sweet. I like mine with plenty of spice and twang.
If you’re planning on keeping a chutney for a while, check what your lids are made of. Most jar lids are metal and you’ll need to place a disk of greaseproof paper between the lid and the chutney to stop it reacting.
Chutney can be kept, in a dark place for years, if jarred properly. This means that the jars must be well sterilised in an oven, which is the easiest way to sterilise a large number of jars.
Shaking bicarb and water in jar can get rid of unwanted, lingering smells that may taint your precious chutney.
Chutneys are like fine wines, they get better with age. Some people keep chutneys for years! Vintage chutney. The flavours definitely mellow and deepen after around a month but this chutney is good to go straight away and consumed within two weeks.
If you are short of fennel, use something like celery or even carrots.
The Bits – For two regular sized jars (280g-ish)
475g firm pear – cored and peeled (cut into 1cm small cubes)
130g fennel – ½ medium sized bulb (finely diced)
140g unrefined brown sugar
50g onion – 1 small
175ml apple cider vinegar
2 inch cinnamon stick
1 teas ground ginger
50g dried cranberries
Large pinch chilli flakes
1 small clove garlic (crushed)
Large pinch sea salt
1 teas mustard seeds
Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil.
Stir regularly and simmer with a loosely fitted lid for 1 1/2 hours, until the chutney is a nice dark brown colour and has thickened. We don’t want it to be like a jam, the pears and fennel will still have a little texture and the chutney will be thick but runny.
Spoon into sterilised jars straightaway and screw lids on firmly. This should mean that the jars are well sealed (i.e. the lids are sucked in and pop when opened)
Decorate with amazing labels and enjoy!
Pears are a member of the rose family and are a great source of fibre and vitamin C.