How to make Beetroot Chutney

Start collecting empty glass jam jars, beg from friends and family – be careful here or you could end up giving away all your carefully made produce just because they gave you the jars.

Look in the recycling bins outside people’s houses in your street and ask if you can take the jars – nice way to meet the neighbours and no one will mind, also you wont feel you have to repay them with produce.

Soak the jars in hot soapy water to remove the sticky labels and generally get them clean. When you are ready to use them it is a good idea to put them on the hottest wash in the dish washer to sterilise them or put them for 30 seconds on high in the microwave (be careful here they could explode so be ready to whip the door open if you hear the first crack!). So now the jars are ready.

Gather all ingredients from the recipe as listed below, although this is a faff it saves so much time and stops you having to open cupboards and search for ingredients with mucky hands.

Beetroot, Apple and Ginger Chutney Recipe

Makes about 3lb (6 small jars), only 10 calories per tablespoon!!!!

Takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 50 – 60 minutes to cook.

225g (8oz) apples

225g (8oz) raw beetroot make sure it is well scrubbed and chopped into small chunks

225g (8 oz) green tomatoes chopped

225g (8 oz) onions peeled and finally chopped (you can chop them in a mini food processor – the type Delia loves

1 garlic clove peeled and crushed

125g (4 oz) raisins

15 ml (1 tablespoon) ground ginger

5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground allspice

5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt

300 ml (1/2 pint) distilled malt vinegar

175g (6 oz) Demerara sugar

We are now ready to cook...

I have scales that are digital and I like to use one big pot, I have my Mum’s old jam making pan, but a really large saucepan will do. Put the pan on the scales and make sure the scales read zero, keep adding your ingredients and after each time say 8oz onion return the scale to zero, this way you make one pan dirty and all your ingredients are in – magic.

If you don’t have digital scales, keep measuring your ingredients and put in the preserving pot/large saucepan.

  1. Peel, quarter, core and chop the apples into small pieces. Place in a preserving pan with all the remaining ingredients and slowly bring to the boil, keep stirring. Leave the pan and let it simmer for 50 – 60 minutes, keep checking that it is gently simmering and not boiling! Keep giving the pan an occasional stir. When the vegetables are very tender after about 40 –50 minutes increase the heat for the final 10 minutes, this will reduce the chutney and thicken it.
  2.  Allow the chutney to cool slightly, then spoon into the sterilised jars (we discussed this above). When completely cold, cover and seal (also discussed above)
  3. Store in a cool dark place for up to 3 months. Refrigerate once opened and use within 2 to 3 weeks. (This is why it is a good idea to have smaller jars)

If for any reason you do not think it is thick enough just boil it up again until it is – easy!

This is amazing with cheese and bread or biscuits 

Decorate the Chutney Jars

To make your chutney special for presents cut out material tops – I like to use the special Christmas material that is in Fabric Land at the moment. For £1 you can buy a ¼ of a metre and that will cover about 10 jars.

Bargain. Now we have free jam jars and a £1 to dress them. It is a good idea to buy the jam jar tops from somewhere like Wilkinsons cost about £2 for 20. In this bag will be 20 small greaseproof tops to put straight on the chutney and 20 larger cellophane tops complete with small elastic band and 20 labels – bargain. So you dress your chutney by putting the small greaseproof top directly onto the chutney – followed by the cellophane and if you have the lid it goes back on now. The pretty material goes on last and finally the small elastic band.

Write your message on the label and stick onto the side of the jam jar – might be an idea to say refrigerate after opening!

To make the material tops either draw around the cellophane top and add a bit extra, if you have pinking shears now is the time to use them. Hey presto lovely material tops to make your chutney special.

If you have expensive wrapping paper this could be used as tops or even good old brown wrapping paper. The brown wrapping paper could have raffia tied around the top to keep it in place and a good old fashioned brown tag that you can write on and tie around the neck of the jam jars.