This recipe is adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Glutney’ recipe in the book The River Cottage Year. It will make roughly ten jars, depending of course on the size of the jars.
1kg squash – courgettes, pumpkin or butternut, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped
1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced
500g sultanas or raisins
500g light brown sugar
750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes or dried chopped up chillies
1 tsp salt
Note: I used small Moneymaker tomatoes in my chutney and it’s tempting to skip the skinning bit for the small ones, but from experience with a test batch, leaving the skins on makes for an unpleasant fibrous texture in the resulting chutney.
For the spice bag (and this is where you can really experiment with flavour):
1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 black peppercorns
1 (very generous) tsp coriander seeds
A couple of blades of mace
Put the diced vegetables and fruit into a large (really large), heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.
Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it down it into the middle of the mixture.
Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil.
Leave the pan uncovered and simmer for 4+ hours, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan.
Note: The recipe says to simmer for 2-3 hours but in reality it takes a lot longer and you can’t really leave it because of the pan burning thing.
When the glutney is ready it will be rich, thick and reduced, and will part to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water. It looks all brown and syrupy [see photo].
Pot up the glutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with either rubber-sealed or plastic-coated screw-top lids. The plastic coating is to stop the vinegar reacting with the metal in the lid.
Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving. It will last for ages unopened and if you make it in late October, it will be absolutely perfect to bring out at the Christmas table.