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Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney is studded with plump sultanas and packed with flavour. A perfect partner for your cheeseboard and a great alternative to apple sauce when serving roast pork or gammon.

Spiced with turmeric, ginger, pink peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon and a touch of chilli. Sweetness from the eating apples and tanginess from the apple cider vinegar combine with the heat of ginger and chilli. All balanced with the floral notes of pink peppercorns.

If you haven’t made a chutney before you’ll be pleased to hear it’s a lot easier than you might think.

Pickle spooned onto cheese with toast.

It’s simply a case of adding the ingredients to a large pan and letting it simmer away. Give your chutney an occasional stir as it reduces to become glossy and thick, then it’s ready for your jars.

I love making chutney in my CrockPot so I’ve included the recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Chutney. It’s perfect for those days when you don’t want to be in the kitchen for long. You can leave your chutney in the slow cooker and get on with other things.

With chutney being so easy, why not rustle up an extra batch ? Then you’ll have a delicious edible homemade gift for family and friends.

Pickle being spooned out of the jar with toast in the background.

Jam and chutney making form a large part of what happens here at The Kitchen Shed. It generally starts with strawberries and before I know it, we’re into the summer glut of courgettes. Out comes the preserving pan and on goes a big batch of courgette chutney. Not that long after the courgettes are done and dusted, we’re into our apple season with all its opportunities. These include my apple chutney recipe, a perfect way to use the last of your season’s apples.

Pickle being ladled into jars.

What Equipment Do I Need ?

  • Preserving pan – nice and wide so liquid can evaporate and your chutney becomes glossy and thick. If you make a lot of chutneys and jams it’s worth investing in a good solid preserving pan. I use an 8.5 litre Penguin Home Professional pan.
  • A large saucepan lid or similar big enough to cover your preserving pan.
  • If you are choosing the Slow Cooker method then you will need a slow cooker – I used a 4 to 6 person (4.7 litre) CrockPot.
  • A ladle.
  • A jam funnel. I prefer to use a stainless steel funnel because vinegar reacts more with other metals such as aluminium.
  • 4 to 6 jam jars with screw top lids. Make sure you are using vinegar proof lids – generally coated on the underside to prevent any acid reaction with metal.
  • Adhesive jam or chutney labels.

How to sterilise jars

Sterilise jars shortly before they are to be used. This minimises the time in which the jars might pick up new bacteria and ruin your chutney. Make sure your jars are dry when you come to fill them.

Jars in the microwave.
  • I like to sterilise jars in the microwave. Clean your jars as normal and rinse. Whilst the jars are wet, pop them in the microwave for two minutes on full power. Remember the jars will be very hot, so remove with care.
  • Alternatively, wash jars in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.
  • Always sterilise more jars than you think you will need.

What ingredients do I need ?

Full details of the quantities of the ingredients and the method are included in the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients to make chutney.
  • Dessert apples – I used Braeburn but Cox’s Orange Pippin or Gala work well too. I don’t recommend Granny Smith’s or Pink Lady as they don’t soften or thicken the chutney in the same way. You can use a cooking apple like a sharp Bramley but your chutney will not be quite as sweet.
  • Onions
  • Sultanas – are great for absorbing liquid and flavour. They give a real pop in the mouth.
  • Grated fresh ginger – adds a gentle heat.
  • Pink peppercorns – mild but still delivering a gentle peppery kick with a spicy floral note.
  • Chilli flakes – I’ve only used a teaspoon of chilli flakes which adds warmth without being too hot.
  • Turmeric – this Indian spice adds an earthy flavour as well as colour.
  • Star anise – adds a sweet peppery, aniseed flavour.
  • Cinnamon – I’ve used Ceylon cinnamon for its light, mildly spiced sweetness and citrusy flavour.
  • Sea salt
  • Cider apple vinegar – I use a variety of vinegars in my chutneys but apple cider vinegar is my favourite. It adds a tanginess to the chutney and enhances the apple flavour.
  • White sugar – I’ve used caster sugar as it dissolves quickly but you can use granulated if you wish. White sugar makes a sweeter chutney and helps maintain the chutney’s vibrant colour.

How to make Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney

Making a chutney couldn’t be easier.

Ingredients being added to preserving pan with lid.
  • Make sure you cut your onion and apples into roughly the same size pieces so they cook evenly.
  • Cook the spices, onion, apples and sultanas in the vinegar until soft.
Sugar being added to fruit and being stirred.
  • Add the sugar and simmer until nice and thick. You don’t need to watch chutney like you do jam but you still need to keep an eye on it. Stir it every now and then to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Spatula test to check doneness before being ladled into jars.
  • The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced and the sultanas look plump and glossy (see photos). Check for thickness by drawing a silicone spatula or wooden spoon through the chutney mixture – it’s ready when it parts reveal the base of the pan for a few seconds.
  • Ladle the hot chutney into warm sterilised jars.
  • When cold, label and include the date.
The process of jarring up of chutney.

How to make Apple Chutney in the Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is the perfect appliance for making chutney as the process needs to be gentle. Unlike the stove top method, there’s no need to worry about your chutney catching on the bottom of your pan or of it drying out too much.

Step by step process for making chutney in the slow cooker.
  • Firstly, the onion, apples, sultanas, spices and vinegar are brought to the boil in a pan on your stovetop before adding to the slow cooker.
  • The next stage is to cook with the slow cooker lid on for an hour to soften the fruit and onion.
Testing the slow cooker chutney is done.
  • Lastly, the sugar is added and stirred in. The slow cooker lid is put back on but now it’s propped open with a wooden spoon or spatula. This allows the chutney to reduce down until it is nice and thick. This process usually takes about 5 hours on the high setting.

How to serve

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney is really versatile. Perfect on your favourite sandwich but equally at home served with a cheese board or roast pork or turkey.

Chutney with cheese and bread on a slate.

But don’t limit your chutney to your favourite sandwich or main meal meats, use it in your cooking too:

  • Add a tablespoon or two to your favourite stew, casserole or tagine.
  • Puree a couple of tablespoons, add a little water and use as a glaze for your Christmas ham or roast.
  • Puree a few tablespoons, add a little water and mustard and use as a dipping sauce.
  • Spread some on toast, layer with cheese and grill – Yum !

How long before I can eat Apple Chutney ?

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney will mature and improve so it’s best to leave in the jar for at least two weeks before eating. However, you can eat my apple chutney as soon as it cools.

How long does it last ?

The chutney will keep for up to a year. Once opened, use within 4 weeks.

Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

A basket of apples with a jar of opened pickle.

Chutney Making FAQs

What is the best vinegar to use for chutney?

You will need a good quality vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5%. Most reputable brands have at least 5% acetic acid and some even have 8%. If the acetic acid percentage isn’t stated on the label, there’s a good chance it’s below the 5% level.
I like to use cider vinegar in a chutney as, unlike malt vinegar, it doesn’t overpower the final flavour. However, you can also use the flavour of the vinegar to enhance the chutney you are making. For instance, I use balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness of red onion in my Caramelised Onion Chutney.

Why is my chutney not thickening?

It’s essential the liquid in a chutney can evaporate easily. The relatively large surface area of a preserving pan allows liquid to evaporate more effectively than a regular pan.
Don’t expect your chutney to be ready in half an hour, it needs time to thicken. Cook the chutney nice and slow on a low heat and don’t rush it. A good chutney will take several hours to make so be patient and you’ll be rewarded with the best results.

Do you need to water bath chutney?

There is no need to water bath Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney. The sugar and acidity are sufficient to preserve the chutney.
Here in the UK, the water bath method is not generally used for chutneys. Jars and lids are sterilised before filling and tightened lids on filled jars form a vacuum seal as contents cool.

More Homemade Chutney Recipes For Christmas

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A jar of opened chutney with cheese, toast and apples in a basket.
Pickle spooned onto cheese with toast.

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney

Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney is studded with plump sultanas and packed with flavour.
A perfect partner for your cheeseboard and a great alternative to apple sauce when serving roast pork or gammon.
5 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Jams, Pickles, Chutneys, Sauces, Dips & Spreads
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 90
Calories: 12kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • 1 Slow cooker or Crock Pot optional
  • 1 Preserving pan
  • Large saucepan lid or similar big enough to cover preserving pan
  • 1 Ladle
  • 4 450g Sterilised jam jars You will need 4 or 5 jars
  • 4 Adhesive jam or chutney labels.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg dessert apples peeled and diced – I used Braeburn
  • 250 g onions diced about 2 medium onions
  • 100 g sultanas
  • 15 g grated ginger
  • 2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 300 ml cider apple vinegar

Instructions

Stovetop method

  • Add diced onions and apples along with sultanas, grated ginger, spices and sea salt to a preserving pan.
  • Pour in cider vinegar, stir well and slowly bring to the boil. Adjust heat to give a simmer.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the heat and stir in the sugar.
  • Return the pan, without lid, to a low heat. Let the chutney mixture simmer for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced and is thick and glossy. Check for thickness by drawing a silicone spatula or wooden spoon through the chutney mixture. Your chutney is ready when it parts to reveal the base of the preserving pan for a few seconds.
  • Ladle into sterilised jars and label when cold.

Slow Cooker / Crockpot method

  • Follow Stovetop method steps 1 and 2 before carefully transferring pan contents to your slow cooker and covering with lid.
  • Cook on High for 1 hour before stirring in the sugar.
  • Replace slow cooker lid but this time prop it open a little with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook on High for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Check after 5 hours and if it’s not ready, replace the lid propped by the wooden spoon and leave for another hour or so.
  • Check for thickness by drawing a silicone spatula or wooden spoon through the chutney mixture. Your chutney is ready when it parts to reveal the base of the slow cooker for a few seconds.
  • Ladle into sterilised jars and label when cold.

Notes

  • You can use cooking apples to make the chutney but the flavour won’t be quite as sweet.
  • The recipe makes approximately enough to fill 4 x 450g jars.
  • The recipe is easily doubled if you use a large enough preserving pan so the ingredients can reduce.You’ll need to cook for an extra half hour. Trebling or quadrupling the quantities is not recommended.
  • Keep at least 2 weeks before eating.
  • Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney will keep for up to a year stored in a cool dry place.
  • Once opened, use within four weeks.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.

Ways To Use Sweet and Spicy Apple Chutney

  • Serve with cheese, cold meats or your favourite burger.
  • As a change from apple sauce, try serving with roast gammon or pork.
  • Puree a couple of tablespoons, add a little water and use as a glaze for your Christmas ham or roast.
  • Puree a few tablespoons, add a little water and mustard and use as a dipping sauce.
  • Spread some on toast, layer with cheese and grill.
Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating




Jill

Sunday 12th of June 2022

I love making homemade apple sauce in the Fall. Adding your apple chutney to my list now. Sounds wonderful!

Artney

Saturday 11th of June 2022

I love apple chutney and the spicy element is perfect. One that will definitely be in the rotation this fall for sure.

Dannii

Saturday 11th of June 2022

This would be so good on an epic cheese sandwich.

Andrea

Saturday 11th of June 2022

I'm loving all the spices used in this apple chutney. It sounds absolutely amazing.

Jacqueline Meldrum

Saturday 11th of June 2022

That looks so good. I do love a nice chutney on a sandwich.