Yes, I know we had a chutney recipe a week or two ago; however, this is the first batch we've made here this season. Since word got around that we make the stuff, kind souls have taken to donating apples. Two large bags in the space of a few days. Not only did nephew Andrew provide one of said bags, he also provided his recipe.
It did get me thinking about the origins. Both the Larousse Gastronomique and the Blessed Delia peddle the idea that it's British in origin. Oh yeah? With such an authentic English sounding name? In fact they are sort of right and wrong at the same time.
Chutney derives from the Indian word chatni, meaning sauce. In Indian cuisine a chutney, in the original sense is a side dish. In the Anglo-Indian colonial days, cross fertilisation of the two cultures was rife. In Britain it was transposed as a means of preserving summer fruits, very often using spices. The two way nature of this traffic is evidenced by the fact that one of our most popular chutneys is made from mangoes, hardly a native summer fruit.
While there are some decent store bought ones out there, home made will usually be infinitely superior. Just remember that you have to leave them to mature for at least three months to allow the harshness of the vinegar to subside.
You don't need a special preserving pan, but use a large, heavy bottomed, wide pan. The weight given for the apples is once they have been peeled and cored. Start off with about 2kg. Muscovado sugar, if you can find it, can be expensive. We used a mixture of light and dark soft brown.
1½kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced; 750g light muscovado sugar, which failing soft brown; 500g seedless raisins; 2 medium onions, finely chopped; 2tsp mustard seeds; 2tsp ground ginger; 1 tsp salt; 700ml cider vinegar (you could get away with malt).
Put all the ingredients in your pan, and bring slowly to the boil. Then simmer uncovered over a medium heat (the mixture should be bubbling very gently) for about 30 minutes until the mixture is thick and pulpy. You need to stir it regularly, particularly near the end. Remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly but make sure your chutney is still warm when you bottle it. Transfer to sterilised jars and seal. Make sure you label it and date the labels. When proudly giving jars as gifts, remember to warn the donees against eating it too soon.