Some years I make preserves – jams, chutneys and canned pears (we have a pear tree). This year is one of them, for chutneys, anyway. I used to make this apricot chutney when I was a chef, for adding to sandwich plates and Indian food. It’s not an Indian chutney but the flavours work well with ethnic foods. This chutney is delicious with roasted chicken or pork too. I have to confess we mostly eat chutneys on ‘nibble plates’ – what we call a ploughman’s lunch.
It uses dried apricots, so can be made any time of the year and is easily doubled or tripled if you want. It only needs a few ingredients, and nothing in it is hard to find either. It’s pretty too, a chunky dark orange chutney with flecks of red onion and green rosemary.
1 kg dried apricots
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 small red onions (or 1 large)
800ml apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Finely slice the apricots; you can use a food processor but they tend to get mangled a little. Finely chop the red onions too. Put everything in a large heavy pot, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The chutney will be thicker, a little syrupy and heavily smelling of vinegar. You won’t be able to tell what it tastes like until it’s cold and is even better after sitting for a couple of days.
You’ll need about 5 x 454g jars or enough other sizes to that hold much chutney. Wash and dry the jars, then place in a roasting pan and into oven on 100’C for about 20 – 30 minutes to sterilise them. Place the lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them about 5 minutes before filling the jars.
Have a clean tea towel or 2 on hand and another laid out to place the hot, filled jars on. When the chutney is ready, take out the jars from the oven and quickly fill them to 4-5mm from the top with the hot chutney. You can fill a glass measuring cup or use a soup ladle and a funnel, but try to keep the rims clean. Wipe the rims clean if needed using a clean damp sponge or paper towel. Quickly dry the lids and screw on, finger-tight. Leave on the tea towel on the counter. I usually fill a few at a time, then wipe and screw on the lids. Try to fill quickly enough that the jars are still warm/hot when you screw the lids on. Leave the jars alone for a few days. If you have a part-filled jar, put it in the fridge once it’s cool.
I’ll add in the pear chutney recipe soon too!