Tomato & Apple Chutney is a great recipe to have a go at in October/early November as the fruits are in season and once the chutney is sealed in the jars, it will have time to mature to be extra-delicious just in time for Christmas.
Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a good idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round so that you have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents – ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. If you get swept up in the commercialism of Christmas and of gift-giving, it’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.
With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.
Making your own gifts can save you a small fortune at Christmas!
You will need:
First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars, or you can save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.
To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly then when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution – available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or here is one from Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g
Tomato & Apple Chutney Recipe:
(Makes about 6 jars)
- 450g (1lb) Apples – finely chopped (do not use the core)
- 450g (1lb) Onions – finely chopped (do not use the peel/skin)
- 1kg ( 2lb 3oz) Firm, ripe tomatoes – finely chopped
- 300g (10 ½ oz) Sultanas
- 450ml (16 fl oz) Vinegar
- 350g Brown Sugar
- 1tsp Ground Ginger
- 1tsp Cinnamon
- 1tsp Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Put all of the ingredients apart from the sultanas, sugar, salt and pepper into a large, heavy-based saucepan – there is no need to add cooking oil. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thicker
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the sugar, sultanas, salt and pepper
- Put saucepan back on a low heat, increase heat to bring the mixture back to a simmer and simmer for a further 30 mins – 2hrs until the mixture is very thick
- Remove saucepan from heat and spoon, whilst still warm, into the sterilised jars. Seal the jars and add your own labels – you can add a square of clingfilm across the top of the chutney before you screw on the lid if you wish to help it to keep longer
Storing the chutney
The chutney will mature and the flavours will deepen if you can leave it sealed in the jar for a month or two before opening and enjoying. You can leave the chutney, sealed in its jar, for a year or two in a cool dark store cupboard – it will still be safe to eat. Once opened, keep refrigerated and the chutney will be fine to eat for a good few months… if it lasts that long!
How to thicken runny chutney
Making chutney is not an exact science and sometimes it can take ages to thicken. The runnyness is due to how much liquid was in the fruit that you used and there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.
As you simmer your mixture, the liquid from the fruit evaporating is what makes the chutney thicker, so keep it simmering and eventually it will thicken.
If you would like to speed up the process, transfer your mixture to a couple of wide-based pans – an increased surface area of the mixture will allow for more evaporation.
Decorating your jars of yummy chutney
There are lots of ways to make the label that you put on your chutney special…
- You could personalise each jar by writing the name of the recipient
- You could draw a picture of the ingredients on the label
- You could write serving suggestions, such as: Great with Sausages, Cheese and in Christmas Sandwiches!
- You could add the date that the chutney was made
- You could add stickers, glitter, whatever… get creative!
If you’re a complete chutney nut, you can, of course, keep the whole batch for yourself and scoff the lot! Enjoy!
A few self-sufficient, thrifty or off-the-grid selections, including Solar Panel Chargers. Toys and tools that I’m saving up for!
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