Although pickling is an ancient method of food preservation, chutney came to Britain more recently, from the Indian sub-continent. In the Anglo-Indian tradition, chutney contains vinegar, and is typically made to preserve autumn fruit and vegetables. This type of chutney can contain both sweet and savoury ingredients, vegetables and fruit. Chutneys provide a good accompaniment to a range of meats, fish and cheese, as well as curry. As they use both vinegar and sugar as preservatives, cutting down the quantity of either will mean the chutney keeps less well.
Quinces are related to apples and pears but the fruit is harder and sharper in flavour. When they are developing, they are green and have down on them, so look for ones that are yellow all over and have lost the down. If you can't find quinces in your local supermarket, try a market or a shop offering Indian food.
To make this apple and quince chutney recipe, you will need:
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 200g sultanas
- 100g raisins
- 150g demerara sugar
- 400ml vinegar
- 50g root ginger, finely sliced
- 400g apples, cored and cut into wedges
- 400g quinces, peeled, cored and sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- 2 tsps allspice, ground
Wash several glass jars and put them in the oven to sterilise. It is best to avoid jars with metal tops, as the vinegar will rust them. This amount should fill two large or three smaller jars.
Because the quinces are harder than the apples, it is necessary to pre-cook them, by simmering the slices gently in a pan with water until just beginning to soften. Drain.
Heat a large saucepan with the oil, add the rosemary, sultanas, raisins and sugar and fry them until the fruit begins to caramelise.
Pour in the vinegar and boil on a high heat for three minutes. Be careful with boiling vinegar: use a wooden spoon and ensure you don’t splash your hands. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Because of the fruit, this chutney has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir it well and keep an eye on it. Don't let the apple and quince slices cook too much; they should keep their shape.
Spoon the mixture into clean hot jars, filling them as full as you can, and seal while hot. Store in the fridge when cool.