We used to buy a lovely beetroot chutney but sadly it was discontinued by Sainsbury’s supermarket. This home made version, however, is even better: both sweet and spicy. Beetroot is readily available in our local market at the moment so I made a batch to take us well into the winter. It has to mature until the start of December, but I will probably have to hide it otherwise I am not sure how long it will last. It is lovely with cheese or cold meats, both in a sandwich or served on the side.
This is yet another recipe from my favourite little book, A Pocket Book on Pickles & Preserves: techniques, hints & recipes by Olive Odell. I have cut the amount of vinegar slightly as it took a long time to reduce. If the chutney is reduced for too long the sugars start to caramelise and you risk the chutney having a burnt flavour.
Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan. Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning. I speak from experience! I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background. I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.
(Makes 5 x 1lb jars)
500g/1lb onions, peeled & chopped
600ml/1pt malt vinegar (own brand supermarket brown or clear)
750g/1½lb apples, peeled, cored & chopped
225g/8ozs sultanas or raisins
3tbsp ground ginger
1. Wash the beetroot, cover with water and cook, unpeeled until just tender (45-60minutes). Drain, cool, peel and cut into cubes (or mash if you prefer for a smoother textured chutney).
2. Place onions in a pan with 150ml/¼pt of the vinegar and cook until soft. Add apples, sultanas/raisins and continue cooking until the apple is soft. Add the cooked beetroot, ginger, salt and the remaining vinegar.
3. Simmer gently until thick and you can draw a channel through the chutney. Stir in the sugar, dissolve and continue cooking until the mixture thickens again.
4. Wash the jars well and sterilise. I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water. I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.
5. Pot into the prepared jars. Cool and label. Store for four weeks to mature before eating.