Kashmir Chutney – the perfect winter gift

There is always something rather heartwarming and homely when a friend surprises you with a gift of homemade chutney, jelly, relish or pickles. It doesn’t often happen, but when it does I love it all the more, (than a bought one that is!) as I know how much effort, love and precious time has gone into preparing it. I am wondering whether chutney making is a pastime that is more popular for those who live in the countryside than the city? Maybe the majority of city dwellers are busying themselves with the hustle, bustle and grind of daily life that the thought of chutney making just doesn’t appeal. Well I for one am bucking that trend!

I have always been told that you are meant to give gifts that you would ultimately like to receive yourself, so I decided for this blog I would share the recipe of one of my favourite chutneys, known as Kashmir chutney. If they are properly prepared and stored they last up to a year, so I thought I would make a batch ready for gifts over the winter season. I plan to share a few more with you before Christmas, but thought that Kashmir chutney was the perfect one to get you into mood for chutney making.

They are perfect for bringing out at family gatherings such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and as well as cheese, they work wonderfully with hams, and grilled spicy sausages. I find that such condiments really lift a dish and give them that extra satisfying dimension. I hope that you agree.

The jars I use are not uniformly similar. They range from the traditional kilner jars, to the reused old jam jars. I use waxed discs and cellophane covers for some of the jars, but to point me in the right direction I really love the book by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew called ‘The Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles’. They cover everything you need to know as well as a wide range of wonderful recipes. Its also a good idea to get hold of some labels so that you can mark the date and type of chutney;  some chutneys can last unopened for up to 2 years.  For all the equipment you need I order from the ‘Jam Jar Shop‘, which are efficient and offer a speedy delivery service.

Kashmir Chutney

Sourced from ‘The Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles’ 

Makes about 2.75kg (approx 8 jars, depending on size)

1kg green eating apples

15g of garlic cloves

1 litre/4 cups of malt vinegar

450g stoneless dates

120g preserved stem ginger

450g raisins

450g soft brown sugar (I usually use light but this time I used dark)

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

2 tbsp salt

1. Peel the apples, quarter them and remove the cores. Then chop them into bite sized chunks. Peel the garlic and chop.

2. In a pan pour the malt vinegar to cover the garlic and apples, and bring to the boil for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, chop the dates and ginger and then add them, along with all the other ingredients to the pan and stir. Simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Transfer the contents of the pan into warmed sterilized jars and place a waxed disc on top. Wipe clean any mess that has spilled around the top of the jars and then seal immediately. Rest in a cool place and leave ideally for a minimum of a month before opening.

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