Chutney recipe for the weekend

Elaine Ayre and her chutney. Photo: SG091213-125TW
Elaine Ayre and her chutney. Photo: SG091213-125TW
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Chutney made to eat at Christmas has to be made early to allow the mixture to mature.

What’s more, as food writer and television presenter Mary Berry says, when money’s tight, one of the best things to do is to make you own presents.

Smart jars of bright chutneys make perfect edible gifts that will go down well, as chutney is perfect with the cold meats and cheeses we tend to eat more of at that time of year.

So making Christmas chutney in January is not such a daft idea after all!

Elaine Ayre, who runs the award-winning Saints & Sinners in Spalding, is sharing her recipe for Christmas chutney.


500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

500g white onions, peeled and chopped

200g dried apricots, chopped

200g prunes, chopped

200g sultana or raisins

200g dried figs, chopped

200g dates, chopped

450g dark brown sugar

600ml cider or white wine vinegar

1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

2 tsp ground allspice

1 pinch nutmeg

1 tsp chilli flakes – optional


Place the apples, onions, sugar and vinegar in a large, thick based cooking pan. Gentle bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes until the onions are cooked through and the apples have reduced into the liquid.

Add the ginger, allspice, nutmeg and chilli (if you are using) and heat for further five minutes. Add all the other ingredients and stir well to combine.

While this starts off as a very loose chutney it will thicken very quickly as the fruit rehydrates and plumps up. Therefore stir frequently and once it has started to thicken stir continuously until thick.

Pot into pre-sterilised pots. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to two years.