Cranberry Christmas Chutney

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


A recipe in Diana Henry's wonderful new book on preserving Salt Sugar Smoke caught my eye. It was for Christmas Chutney and among other things it contained fresh and dried cranberries. I had both of these although I confess the cranberries were frozen not fresh, and had been frozen for at least twelve months. They certainly needed to be used and chutney seemed like a good way of using very old frozen cranberries.

 I did not however have the prunes, dried sour cherries or dates also required for the recipe. I decided that rather than go out and buy more ingredients I would use what I had and devise my own Christmassy chutney.

 I made sure that I used the same amount of apples, onions, vinegar, sugar and spices that the original recipe called for and then I added up the total weight of the other fruit called for and made that up with my own selection of dried cranberries, frozen cranberries, sultanas and dried apricots.

It was a quick and easy chutney to make compared to my usual damson chutney which takes ages because of  all the stones and the fact that I make such a large quantity which takes hours to cook.


Cranberry Christmas Chutney
Makes about 5 medium jars

300g fresh or frozen cranberries
200g dried cranberries
100g sultanas (or raisins)
175g dried apricots, chopped
3 finely chopped eating apples (I used cox's orange pippins and left the skins on)
2 finely chopped medium onions (about 270g in total)
475 ml cider vinegar (I had less cider vinegar than I thought so I topped it up with red wine vinegar)
500g light soft brown sugar
Half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of brandy (optional)


Mix everything except the brandy in a large pan (a preserving pan is ideal). Bring to a simmer.
The cranberries will float. Allow to simmer until thick and jammy enough for a channel to be made when you draw a spoon across the bottom of the pan as in the picture below. Don't let it get too dry though. This could take up to 2 hours, mine took about 1½ hours.



Take off the heat and stir in the brandy.
Pot into sterilised jars. I sterilise them by washing and putting them in a 100 degree oven for about 20 minutes.


I would like to tell you that this chutney is delicious with cold turkey and ham on Boxing Day, but I can't because it won't be ready to eat until Christmas. I can tell you though, that I am confident it will be delicious with cold turkey and ham on Boxing Day and beyond. I will let you know how it turns out in due course. I tasted a little and found it to be quite a sweet chutney, but chutneys are best left to mature for a couple of months so we shall see.



24 comments:

  1. It's looking good, Sue! So delicious with a slab of cheese and a hunk of freshly baked crunchy bread!

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  2. Looks good and as Sandra says would be great with some good cheese and a hunk of fresh bread. I really ought to give chutney a go as I love the stuff but it is only me that would eat it.

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    1. But it keeps forever so there's no pressure to eat it up fast.

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  3. Love your little labels too!

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  4. Anonymous5:07 pm BST

    Oooo that looks good !!! Can I have some? ME

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  5. Mmm looks good, might make some

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  6. Sounds wonderful, Sue, but as so often with recipes that call for some kind of alcohol, there's nothing to indicate whether or not a substitute liquid should be used, or if the alcohol is just optional anyway. I'm guessing that in this case it's just there to add to the general Christmassiness. Advice welcome! (We are an alcohol-free household.)

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    1. I would leave it out without hesitation. I don't usually put alcohol in chutney but the recipe I based it on included it, I'm sure it's just for festiveness.

      I'll amend the recipe to indicate that it is optional.

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  7. Sounds delicious!

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  8. I do love your labels, so simple and lovelh

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  9. I also enjoy making and consuming chutney. If you go to this site http://www.printablelabels.net/ you can find great labels for the jars. Use the Word versions. Download and save, then type in all the ingredients, the date, and a lovely name for the recipe. It is terrific for gifts. I also feel that any potential allergies in house guests are dealt with by the labels. You can print onto adhesive labels or use plain paper and some parcel tape. Looks very professional and I am sure Nigella would be jealous.

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    1. Thanks, but I really like my own hand drawn labels and frankly I couldn't care less what Nigella thinks.

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  10. Last year I made jars of Christmas chutney to give as presents. I think it was a Nigella recipe. It featured dates and figs and walnuts and was delicious with cold cuts and cheese.

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  11. I've never tried making chutney before, but this one looks so easy. And sounds delicious.

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  12. It looks marvellous, but cranberries don't agree with me, what would you suggest as an alternative Sue?

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    1. You could try replacing the cranberries with other dried fruit Annie. The original recipe also contained prunes, dates, raisins and dried cherries. You could also add more dried apricots and figs. Try a fresh fruit- mango perhaps. It needs to be a fairly firm fruit.

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    2. Hmm, I was thinking of something that would be as tart as the cranberries, would fresh plums work in this do you think? They should shouldn't they, if they weren't too ripe, or would they not be firm enough? I think I need to come to you for cookery lessons Sue!

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    3. Oh yes plums would work if you can find any, it's a bit late for them now.

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  13. I love your hand drawn labels they look modern and individual.I think what lets down a lot of jams and chutneys at farmers markets is their boring computer generated labels.

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    1. My thoughts exactly :)

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  14. Christmas! Stop it! Stop it now!

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  15. The last time I made chutney I killed a Le Creuset pan - which made it the most expensive chutney in the world. I might be tempted to try again but can I really be trusted not to just wander off and let it fuse itself to the pan again?

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  16. Lovely recipe - i too have some cranberries lurking in the bottom of my freezer - I may have to try this recipe out. Thank you for sharing it. Best wishes, Pj x

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