classic apple, date & walnut chutney 

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1- 1.5 hours
Makes: 1.75 litres

3 large brown onions, chopped
1.2kg [2lb 6oz] cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks
400g [13oz] dried dates, chopped
125gm [4oz] walnuts, chopped
315ml [10 fl oz] white wine vinegar
120ml [4 tablespoons] apple balsamic [or plain balsamic vinegar]
125g [4oz] soft brown or Demerara [raw] sugar
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
215ml [6fl oz] water

1. Grease the base of the pan lightly with oil or butter. Combine the vinegar, sugar, ginger, cumin seeds and water in the pan. Stir over a low heat without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Stir in the apples, dates, onions and walnuts.

3. Bring to the boil, then very gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes, or until thick and pulpy, and no excess liquid remains [see below]. Stir occasionally early in the cooking to check the mixture is not sticking or burning but stir more frequently towards the end of the cooking time.

4.When ready spoon the chutney into warmed sterilized jars. Use a skewer or the long handle of a spoon to remove any air bubbles. Cover with a lid and seal immediately.

5. Leave to cool. Label and store in a cool dark place and leave to mature for at least 2 months before eating. Use within 12months of making. Once open, store in the refrigerator and use within 6 weeks.

Tips:

• Chutneys, which are made from vegetables, fruit, sugar, spices and vinegar, are cooked until very thick and the
cooking is long and slow. They need to be left for 2 months before eating to allow the flavours to develop.
• Make sure your pan is large enough and preferably, is heavy-based. Do not leave vegetables or vinegar standing in
aluminium pans for more than an hour.
• Vinegar- use a good quality vinegar with at least 4% acetic acid [can be malt, white or red wine vinegar]. Cheap
vinegars do not contain enough acetic acid to act as a preservative.
• Sugar is not simply a sweetener but is also a preservative when used in high concentration as it acts to stop the
development and growth of micro-organisms. Brown or white sugar is used in chutneys- brown sugar simply gives a
richer flavour and colour.
• Bottle [jars]- check there are no chips or cracks. Wash bottles and lids in a dishwasher or hot soapy water and
rinse well. Dry and sterilise the bottles in the oven. Place on a baking tray and leave in an oven [preheated to 120
degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark ½ ] for 20 minutes or until ready to use.
• Cooking times can vary depending on the size of pan used, fruit and vegetables used, whether they are in season,
their water content, how gentle the simmering etc.
• Stirring- chutneys must be stirred often to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan. Stir across the
base of the pan not just around the edge.
• Test for when ready to bottle – place a spoonful of mixture on a plate. Draw the spoon though and the trail left
should be clean without any runny liquid. Keep cooking till you achieve this. Alternatively just draw the spoon
across the base of the pan.
• Alternative versions: For a change you can substitute dried prunes or raisins for the dates; or white mustard seeds
for the cumin seeds. You could add ground ginger [3 teaspoons] or chilli [2 small fresh red chillies finely sliced].

WEN Recipe: October 2009

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