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Spiced Fruit Salad Chutney, perfect for giving

Spiced Fruit Salad Chutney, perfect for giving

Today was another chutney day. I have been planning this one for a while but only managed to get around to it this morning.

This is one of my favourite chutneys, most especially because it is not seasonal and can be made at any time of the year.

Ready to soak

Ready to soak

The fruit base is some good old fashioned dried fruit salad and to this the added ingredients are also available all year round – onion, capsicum, chilli. Easy peasy. The only items that you may not have to hand are cinnamon sticks (why ever not? go buy some now), whole star anise and cider vinegar. I always have everything required for this recipe in my store-cupboard or fridge.

Fruit soaked and draining, ready to chop

Fruit soaked and draining, ready to chop

My Father in Law loves this chutney and is not averse to asking for another jar when given just the one. He likes to spread it on bread like jam and make a sandwich of it. I love it with ham, and with some soft cheeses, and it will most certainly perk up the leftover Christmas Turkey. Sadly, Mr L is not fond of this chutney at all, however I like it so much that it is worth the effort of making it just for me.

I cannot recall where I obtained the recipe and so cannot give credit. I am fairly certain that I found it on the back of a packet of Dried Fruit Salad.

Experience has shown that the quality of fruit salad varies quite widely and I would have to suggest that you get the best that you can afford, and not (as I did today) use the Lidl cheap stuff. On the other hand, you may be very fond of prunes… (It seems that the cheaper the product, the higher the ratio of prune to interesting things.)

Plumpcious

Plumpcious

The Lidl fruit, with its higher proportion of prune, has made a far darker chutney than previous batches made with fruit from Holland & Barratt or wherever. One thing worth noting is that the prunes in the Lidl mix are stoned. Personally, I found this disappointing as the prunes were already mushy after soaking and pretty much disappeared in the boiling – hence the brown gloop. I confess that in the past I have been too impatient to stone the soaked fruit and have used whole prunes – resulting in some very nice lumpy chutney… and stones to pick out at the table.

On the matter of lumps – the recipe advises cutting the fruit into ¾” pieces (I must have had this recipe for a long time!). I prefer irregularity and purposefully leave some larger pieces of fruit in there, especially some whole apricots.

I fish the cinnamon stick out at the end. Leaving the star anise in concentrates the aniseed flavour, and looks attractive in the jar. It’s entirely up to you. Whole pieces are easy to fish out, should you wish to do that. I am nearing the end of my supply and did not have 4 whole pieces, so there are bits in my chutney. I should have wrapped them in muslin before starting. If I had eaten breakfast before starting this project, I might have had my wits about me.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook

Recipe is verbatim from my copy of the unknown original. It makes much more than the recipe states – I filled 6 honey jars and one mayonnaise jar. Think about it logically… 1 kilo of dried fruit soaked, plus weight of sugar, vinegar and veg?

Plenty to go around

Plenty to go around

Spiced Fruit Salad Chutney

This is an especially toothsome chutney, brimming with rich fruity flavours and so easy to make at any time of the year. It makes a perfect accompaniment to crumbly Farmhouse Cheddar or meaty terrines and is particularly delicious with juicy grilled pork chops or any type of hand­raised pie

Makes approximately 900g (2lb)

  •  1 kg            Dried mixed fruit salad (2 ¼ lb)
  • 1                  Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1                  Yellow Pepper, de seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1                  Red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 500g           Demerara Sugar (1 lb 2oz)
  • 600ml         Cider Vinegar (1 pt)
  • 200ml         Water (7 fl oz)
  • 2 tsp            Dijon Mustard (10ml)
  • 1                  Cinnamon stick
  • 4 pieces      Star Anise
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cover the dried fruit in boiling water and leave to soak for 2 hours before using (or overnight if you prefer)

Drain the fruit, chop it into even size chunks of about 2cm (¾”) and place it into a large preserving pan with the remaining ingredients.  Using a wooden spoon, stir over a fairly low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Simmer for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is plump and fully cooked and the chutney has reduced and thickened nicely; the vinegary tang should have totally disappeared and the flavour will now be rich and fruity.

Spoon the chutney into warmed sterilised jars and seal. The chutney can be eaten immediately or stored in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

There you are, ready to eat immediately – and just enough time to get some made before Christmas. Would make fab pressies, in nicely decorated jars, to take with you when you go visiting. It’ll help with all those turkey and ham sandwiches. Here’s a PDF file of the Spiced Fruit Chutney Labels for A4 Avery J8160 that I used to label my jars.

Yum

Yum

PING! Gill, there’s a jar of this with your name on it.

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