Autumn Fruit Chutney

I love autumn. I’m not much good in the heat (at least without access to something to swim in), and relish the chance to pull on a pair of boots and an over-sized jumper. I love the crisp air and the clear, blue skies; the warm, vivid colours and the earthy harvest fruit and vegetables.

For me, this recipe is a wonderful way to preserve the flavours of autumn throughout the year. It needs some time on the hob (and your house will smell of vinegar for the next 24 hours), but you can let it putter away happily while you do your own thing, so it’s pretty minimal effort.

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Ingredients (makes about 5 jars):
– 500g plums, stoned and halved
– 450g blackberries
– 100g elderberries
– 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 225g light muscovado sugar
– 500ml red wine vinegar
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 tsp ground ginger
– 1 tsp ground allspice
– 2 tsp salt

1. Stir all the ingredients together in a large pan. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for an hour and a half, until well reduced. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

2. After the chutney has been simmering for an hour, sterilise your jars. Wash well, then put on to a baking tray. Transfer to a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 125°C for 20 minutes.

3. Use a ladle to spoon the chutney into the hot, sterilised jars, then tighten the lids as much as possible and leave to cool. Once cool, ensure the lids are as tight as they can be and label the jars. Allow to mature for a month before using.

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