Autumn, or fall, is truly my favourite season. One moment it is stifling hot and humid, as the summer draws to a close, and then one morning you wake up to clear, crisp, cool blue skies and the leafy, mossy smell of fallen leaves in the air. These are the days that I really live for – still warm and sunny enough to be out in a t-shirt, but cool enough at night that your mind starts turning to all the delicious food treats in the months ahead.
The stalls in Munich’s Viktualienmarkt are suddenly overflowing with mountains of mushrooms, piles of pumpkins, figs, apples, pears, plums. The abundance of the harvest is everywhere and I love it.
All summer I spend my preserving days making jams, and jellies, but as soon as that first feeling of autumn comes into the air I know that it is time for my real favourites – chutneys, relishes and pickles.
My Autumn Fruit Chutney recipe is infinitely variable, and is an excellent way of clearing out the fridge when you’ve been a little overzealous with your market shopping. I like the combination of figs, plums and apple, but there is no reason at all you can’t switch that out with other seasonal fruit and veg – just make sure it is first cooked until soft before you add the sugar, otherwise, any skins will toughen. You can fiddle the spices to your own tastes – I like a bit of heat so I put in plenty of chillies, but feel free to leave it out if that’s not your thing.
I like to eat this really simply with big chunks of crumbly aged cheddar and fresh white bread – add a thick slice of ham and you have the makings of a delicious Ploughman’s Lunch.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 1 kg mixed late summer or autumn fruits i.e.: plums, figs, apples,
- 250 ml vinegar
- 50 ml balsamic vinegar
- 250 g onions, roughly chopped
- 250 g sultanas
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 250 g sugar
- Begin by washing, deseeding and de-stoning all of the fruit. Using a sharp knife, cut all the fruit into small and roughly even chunks.
- Put it all in a large non reactive saucepan (stainless steel or enamel), pour over the plain vinegar (use whatever you have, cider, malt, wine vinegars are all OK) and the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the sultanas, salt, allspice, mustard seeds, chilli flakes and coriander seeds, and bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat.
- When the mixture is at a boil, turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit from catching on the bottom of the pan for roughly 30 minutes, until the fruit is soft.
- Meanwhile, wash four 250ml jars in hot soapy water, put them in a baking dish and heat them in the oven at 100°C / 215°F / Gas Mark ½ to sterilise. Wash the lids with hot soapy water and set aside on a clean cloth to dry.
- When the fruit is soft, pour in the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. You'l notice the mixture has become beautifully glossy and shiny. Now turn up the heat to medium and cook, stirring often to prevent the mixture from burning, for 15 minutes.
- When the chutney has thickened, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, before spooning or pouring into the hot sterilised jars. A jam funnel is truly the best investment you can make here as it makes pouring the jam or chutney into the jars much easier. Seal with the lids and leave to cool before, before labelling clearly with the type of chutney and the date (you would be amazed how easy it is to forget what is in all these jars!) and store in a cool, dry place. This chutney is perfect for eating immediately but is much better when left to mature for at least a couple of weeks.
A note on sterilising jars / canning - I have for many years found this method of preserving perfectly acceptable and safe for cooking jams and chutneys. If you have any safety concerns at all there is loads of information online about how to preserve/can food safely.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 40 Serving Size: 2 tsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is it safe to store this chutney without a water bath?
I have for many years found this method of preserving perfectly acceptable and safe for cooking jams and chutneys. Chutney has a high vinegar content which helps to preserve it. If you have any safety concerns at all there is loads of information online about how to preserve/can food safely.
Can I use other fruit to make this chutney?
Sure! Mix and match depending on what is available, but keep the ratios the same.
How long can I store this chutney?
Up to two years, in a cool, dark place.