Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

I have been making chutneys and jams for my friends and family for Christmas presents as long as I can remember. It’s perhaps my annual ritual that I treasure the most. It signifies making the most of the autumnal farmers’ market or foraging treasures and is one of the first steps I take each year when starting to plan for the festive season.

There was a time when I rotated the chutneys I made, perhaps an apple, pear and hazelnut chutney, often a piccalilli or even a traditional dowerhouse chutney. However since I developed this particular Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney a couple of years ago there has been absolutely no looking back. It has been one of my favourite kitchen creations and now I make it every single year to pass onto my loved ones, and of course to scoff myself with a mountain of cheese.

I rather like it as it’s not one of those chunky chutneys that makes your sandwich all lumpy, or a chutney that is stuffed with little pops of sultanas making the whole affair too fruity. No, this chutney has the perfect balance of texture from the soft apples, of sweetness from the stem ginger and a warmth of spice from the root ginger, chipotle chilli powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

In fact I love this chutney so much that it became one of the first recipes to be cemented in my new preserves venture ‘From The Larder’. I have made jars upon jars this year, so that I can spread the joy a little further than my friends and family and I will be selling it on all my market stalls leading up to Christmas. My inaugural preserves stall is at the Stroud Green Winter Fair this Saturday 22nd November at the Stapleton Tavern in Stroud Green and I can’t wait to showcase all the lovely produce I have been foraging for, jarring and canning since the summer. If you are around then do drop by and pick up a jar of this Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney. However, if you are far away then don’t fret as I’ve included the recipe below so you can make a batch of your own.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

This chutney is perfect on your festive cheeseboard as it goes with pretty much any cheese. It’s also incredibly addictive so don’t be surprised if you find you are balancing more chutney on your cracker instead of cheese. This recipe makes a good few jars but it’s perfect to give away as presents or to hoard yourself so you can keep your supplies well on the go until next year’s batch.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

Makes 12 x 200ml jars

For the spice bag:
50g root ginger
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1.5kg Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
1.5kg Cox Pippin apples, peeled, cored and diced
1kg white onions, diced
4 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
500g soft light brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sea salt

  1. Place the spice bag ingredients into a muslin bag and then put into a large preserving pan with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for 2.5 hours.
  3. Remove the spice bag then decant the chutney into sterilised jars.
  4. Keep in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before eating.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
This is my first chutney of the year.  I managed to divest my laden larder with a good majority of pickles, jams and chutneys over the festive period but now it’s about the time where I start to build up my stores again.

If I am honest I made this chutney a few weeks ago when the calls of our local Fruit and Veg man hollering outside Finsbury Park asking us to ‘Taste the mango’ got the better of me.  I did want to taste the mango.  Then it reminded me how long it’s been since I had a good cheese and mango chutney sandwich.  Since I didn’t have any mangos in, I put the abundance of mangoes on the stall to good use and stirred up a very quick and fragrant chutney that afternoon.  I followed Diana Henry’s advice on mango chutney but did not carry through the hotness of her recipe, instead toning it down as I wanted to create something more subtle.

Cheese loves a good mellow chutney or jam; please see my earlier obsession with cheese and peach jam.  Mango chutney is a perfect partner and I particularly like a softly spiced version so that the delicate mango flavour isn’t powered out, bedding down nicely a good crumbly cheese.

Mango Chutney

This classic sandwich combination always reminds me of my mother who at the mere mention of mango chutney will without fail wax lyrical about a good mango chutney and cheese sandwich.  And with good reason, a generous dollop of sticky chutney oozing out a toasted sandwich filled with gooey English cheddar is truly a magnificent lunch and reminds me a lot of my childhood.

I don’t eat as many sandwiches as I used to but this doesn’t mean my chutney consumption has calmed down.  My current favourite use is to add a delicate amount to a salad of nutty emmental, cucumber and iceberg lettuce.  All you need then is a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to finish it off.  The mango chutney adds a lovely balance of sweet and sourness to this simple salad.

And of course, it would be remiss not to discuss how a lovely tablespoon of this chutney added to a homemade curry can provide its own dimension to the recipe, adding a mellowed sweetness to counteract your spicing.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
Adapted from Diana Henry’s Very Hot Mango Chutney in ‘Salt Sugar Smoke’

6 mangos
¼ tsp cloves
8 cardamom pods, deshelled
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp black mustard seeds
500g onions, diced
500g granulated sugar
600ml cider vinegar
3 green chillies, deseeded
nutmeg
30g fresh ginger, diced finely
zest and juice of 2 limes

  • Peel the mangos and cut the flesh of the fruit from around the middle stone. Chop the fruit into cubes, there might not be much uniformity from the flesh cut close from the stone. Set aside.
  • In a large preserving pan toast the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and mustard seeds over a low heat for a minute or so to release their fragrance.
  • Add the diced onions, sugar, vinegar and chillies to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 10 mins.
  • Add the mango, nutmeg, ginger and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 mins until the mixture is jam like.
  • Stir through the lime juice for the last couple of minutes of cooking, then decant into sterilised jars.
  • The chutney is best left for at least 4 weeks for the flavour to mature.