Fig & Cranberry Christmas Chutney

You may think I’m mad calling this ‘Christmas Chutney’, but did you know that  chutney actually improves with age! Leaving a good amount of time for your chutney to rest will enhance the delicious Christmasy flavours. So why not start super early and be ahead of schedule this Christmas, give a jar to someone as a present, put them in  Christmas stockings OR… keep the whole lot for yourself and devour it with a big fat cheese board! So get cooking and be prepared for a gorgeous smelling kitchen.

Fig & Cranberry chutney

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Ingredients (makes 8-10 jars)

500g onions, chopped
Dash of oil
1kg diced apples, any will do but try to include some Bramleys
500ml cider vinegar
400g demerara sugar
200g dried figs, diced
125g dried cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
A large shot glass of port
5cm piece root ginger, roughly chopped
6 cloves
12 cardamom pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

You will also need:
8-10 different sized sterilised* chutney jars
A clean square of muslin
Plain string

* To sterelise your jars simply preheat the oven to 130°C and lay a double layer of newspaper on each oven shelf you are using, but not the bottom of the oven. Remove the lids from the jars and then arrange your jars on the shelves making sure they are not touching each other. Leave them in the oven for 20 minutes and remove using thick oven mittens and fill with your chutney immediately.

Method
In a large pan sweat the onion with a dash of oil then add the chopped apple. Pour in the vinegar and sugar and give it a good stir until the sugar has dissolved. Now add the fruits, orange zest and juice and the port.
Next put the ginger, cloves, cardamom pods and coriander seeds in a clean square of muslin and tie together with plain string. Immerse the pouch deep in the pan and let all the ingredients bubble away with the lid off for a good hour stirring regularly.
Now add the walnuts and cook for a further 30 minutes, now is a good time to sterilise your jars see above for instructions. Once your jars are sterilised, check to see if your chutney is done by parting it with a wooden spoon, if you can see a little bit of the bottom of the pan your chutney is ready.
Transfer it to your jars whilst they are still hot – this is important because you cannot put hot chutney into cold jars as they will shatter. Seal the lids and leave to cool. Try decorating your jars with Christmas ribbon and present tags, or even make your own labels for a more personal touch!


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