Christmas Chutney or Why I’ve Been Quiet for So Long!

I am still here, really! It’s been a while since the last post principally because I’ve been making jam and chutney like it’s going out of fashion. I somehow ended up responsible for making for/with the kids in my children’s lower school enough jam and chutney to sink a reasonably large ship. Unsurprisingly, this has been VERY time consuming. (Especially on the school’s tiny electric cooker that doesn’t willingly give enough direct heat to boil sugar.) Anyway, I’m nearly done now and thought some of you might like the recipe I’ve evolved for pear chutney.

Chutney is really very easy. You do need a morning to devote to it, but it isn’t technically demanding. It just needs time to simmer. Made now, jars of this could make lovely Christmas presents with instructions to let it mature for at least a month.

Recipe: Christmas Pear Chutney


  • 18floz / 500ml cider vinegar
  • 3lb / 1kg300g firm cooking pears (not ripe Conference pears: they will mush), peeled cored and chopped weight
  • 1lb / 450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped weight
  • 1lb / 450g onions, peeled and chopped
  • ½lb / 225g granulated sugar
  • ½lb / 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 floz / 55ml lemon juice
  • zest of 1 orange/2 clementines
  • juice of ½ orange/1 clementine
  • 9oz / 250g mixed dried fruit (I was in a hurry and just bought a bag which had sultanas, raisins, currants and tiny bits of crystallised ginger. You could also make up your own mixture to the correct weight.)
  • 3oz / 75g chopped dates
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground allspice
  • ½tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½tsp ground ginger
  • ½tsp chilli powder (optional)


  1. Pour the vinegar into your cooking pan.
  2. Peel core and chop the fruit a pound or so at a time, transferring the fruit quickly to the pan and stirring thoroughly. You need to get it in the pan and coated in the vinegar as fast as possible to prevent it going brown. That’s why you don’t want to peel and prepare it all at once
  3. Put all the remaining ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. I use a large Le Creuset casserole. You really do need something with a solid, heavy bottom as this is going to simmer over a low heat for three or four hours. If the bottom of the pan is not good and thick, the chutney will burn.
  4. Stir at intervals over the next few hours until the mixture is thick and dark brown.
  5. The chutney is ready when you can drag your wooden spoon across the surface, making a dent across it and it doesn’t fill with liquid.
  6. Pour it into sterilised jars and seal with sterilised lids. You cannot use cellophane seals as the vinegar will eat through it, you will lose the seal and the chutney will dry out.

Cooking time (duration): about 4 hours

Diet type: Dairy-free

Number of servings (yield): about 6-8 jars, depending on their size

Meal type: condiment

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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