Making Chutney

Making chutney at home is really easy and with the aid of some quality fresh vegetables and fruits you can create some quality products.

Here are some basic methods for chutney making and a couple of easy chutney recipes. 

Chutney methods 

Chutney can be made from almost anything! Chutney is simply fruit and vegetables simmered in vinegar with added sugar and spices,

Use only good quality vegetables and fruits, preferably organic ones. Prepare your vegetables and fruit carefully, chopping everything fairly small so that it is easy to eat. Many ingredients - but not all - will cook down to a soft consistency. Avoid any woody vegetables or unduly fibrous ingredients.

The usual proportion of vinegar to vegetables and fruits is approximately 1/3rd but recipes will vary. Many different vinegars can be used, from malt vinegar, cider vinegar and wine vinegars. A variety of herbs and spices can be added.

Until you are experienced in making chutneys it is best to follow tried and tested recipes. Not all vinegars are of equal strength, for example.

If you dislike finding whole grains of mustard or other spices in your chutney, use a tied muslin bag of spices to add flavour.

Indian and British chutneys

Chutneys can be made for immediate use. Many Indian recipes use fresh ingredients with spices and little or no vinegar. These chutneys must be kept in the fridge and used within a few days. The word chutney comes from the Hindu language.

British recipes tend to depend upon vinegar and sugar for preserving properties. They usually need to be kept for 3 – 6 months before they are ready to use. It is important to use enough vinegar and sugar to properly preserve the ingredients.

Scottish apple chutney

2lbs apples, peeled and chopped,

2lbs onions, finely chopped,

1lb Demerara sugar

1 pint malt vinegar,

1 oz ground ginger,

pinch of mixed spice,

salt to taste


Put all the ingredients into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Allow to cool before putting into jars. Cover and seal with vinegar proof lids. Keep at least 3 months before use.



Courgette chutney

2lb courgettes, trimmed

1lb tomatoes or apples (peeled and cored)

½ lb onions

3 garlic cloves

1 ¼ lb brown sugar – Muscovado

2 oz sultanas

2 tsp salt

3 tsp pickling spice

small piece of ginger, finely chopped

1 pint white vinegar


Cut courgettes, onions and apples into pieces.

Gently heat all ingredients until sugar has dissolved.

Simmer for approx 1 ½ hours or until ready.

Bottle, cool, label and store for 3 – 6 months before using.



"There was an Old Person of Putney,

Whose food was roast spiders and chutney, 

Which he took with his tea, within sight of the sea,

That romantic Old Person of Putney."


             - Edward Lear, English artist and writer; known for his 'literary nonsense' & limericks  (1812-1888)


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Making Chutney

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