Revision 3: errata; added mustard powder on the spice side of things, that should be all now!
Revision 2: errata; updated and adjusted, a) spices/onions/vinegar in text and in the check list. Also b) adjusted amount of used sugar down since I found that I actually only used 2/3 of what was originally, and wrongly, written. Finally c) the cooking time was wrong; I only cooked the chutney for 35m. Everything should be in due order now.
Organic apple chutney. It is a commodity for which you normally pay around 30kr (£3 or about $5) a glass in whatever expensive organic store you choose to adorn with your cash. Now this needn’t be so if you happen to live in a area where apple trees are abundant and are prepared to put in some energy to make some yourself – follow the picturesque guide here for extra incitement to go make your own jars of chutney! Before we start though; the obligatory check list of needed stuff so no-one starts crying halfway through the guide:
- 5 kilo of garden apples
- 400 gram of brown cane sugar
- 300 gram of organic raisins
- 500 gram of onions
- mustard powder (or regular mustard)
- 800 ml of organic vinegar
- 1 apple corer (device to remove the core from a apple)
- 150 gram of ginger root
- some pepper
- quite a bit of salt
- a big pot to cook the whole lot
- a stove (not to forget)
- and finally 2-3 hrs to spend on the project
The cost of this whole project will be on the cheapish side when compared to the amount of delicious apple chutney you’ll be left with (around 14 regular size chutney glasses for about 60kr (£6 or $10)). If one should decide to go completely bulk order on all the ingredients the final cost could of course be brought down further.
Procuring the apples
First of all we need to procure about 5 kilo’s worth of apples, I simply used a mass amount that have fallen off the trees in my family’s garden (tip: have a family with a lot of apple trees in their garden, it makes things easier by far). It is October and quite cold here in Denmark so the apples are mostly fine. Those apples that are not completely ok, i.e. bruised or worm eaten, can still be used with a little extra cleaning. By using these apples that would normally be thrown out, I upped the amount of apples I had access to tremendously – since not many people are engaged in traditional food making any longer many a neighbor will be happy to have you ‘clean up’ the fallen apples.
Cleaning the apples
When you have collected the apples and washed them thoroughly the cleaning process can commence.
And. Here comes the one caveat of this guide; you need a tool like the one you see on the left; it is what is knows as a apple corer, a classic contraption invented to allow exceptionally easy removal of the apple core while leaving a maximum amount of actual apple behind!
Of course you can use a knife instead but it will be tedious hard work and you’ll have to be quite skilled to be left with the same bulk amount of apple for the chutney boiling.
So after a lot of cleaning (and meditation upon a wide array of differing subjects in life..) I was left with quite a nice amount of apples. Then almost all (being optimistic here) there is left to do is…
Cutting and cooking the apples
Now, honestly, this chapter should almost have been named “Spicing and cooking the apples” because, yes, the spices are important (and, if you count the onions and raisins in as spices they take up about 20% of the bulk volume!).
First of all, I acquired a suitably large knife and cut the apples to pieces, not too small, because then they’ll all end up as mush with no texture and not too large cause then they’ll take up too much volume in the pot you use. Check the image on the left (I was left with -just- enough space in the pot so a bit finer cutting is probably in order).
Then, secondarily I cut up about a half a kilo of onions for the remaining 4 kilo of apples (I weighed my apples at the end of the cleaning process; initially had 5 kilo and was left with exactly 3.7 kilo to work with after cleaning).
Then I put the whole lot on the stove and after adding 800ml of vinegar I brought the whole thing to a boil and then turned heat down to left it simmer/boil happily away for 20m while stirred with 10m intervals.
After the first 20m I added 300 grams of organic raisins and 400 grams of brown cane sugar to help sweeten and preserve the chutney, on the spices side I grated 2 whole nutmeg nuts and added 2 teaspoonfuls of mustard powder, 1 teaspoonful of pepper and 2 tablespoonfuls of salt and boiled/stirred the stuff for another 15m.
Final spices and bottling the apples chutney
Now everything was suitably chutney-like in the big pot that had 35m on the stove. Before I bottled the the material in the glasses I added 150 grams of finely chopped ginger root which was gingerly stirred in with the boiling mass before the stove was finally turned off.
Finally the chutney was, still very near boiling temp (to help better preserve through the natural vacuum created when cooling down), added to a lineup of jars. As you can see I was lucky to have about 7 biggish jars but if you only have small jars you should probably count on having double that amount. Hurray, done! Be sure to leave a comment or two in case you decide to try this; new/tweaked recipes and ideas are welcome. Also.. commercial chutney recipes often contain 50% or more pure sugar.. this home made variety taste rather wonderful and only contains:
(0.4 ÷ 4.7) × 100 = 8,51% of sugar
…and that is not even taking into account how healthy the apples in and by themselves are. It would be interesting to experiment with taking the sugar level further down or perhaps adding cinnamon to slow the carbohydrate uptake (actually the ginger already does this and a load of other good stuff to your body). Also the overall boil time could probably be shortened to preserve a larger amount of antioxidants. Enjoy the chutney.