Chutneys, Relishes & Pickles

24/07/2012 12:03


Chutneys are so easy to make as you don't have to worry about them setting. As with jams, boiling the fruit and vegetables kills any bacteria, but its the addition of vinegar that acts as the preserving agent.

The taste of chutneys improve with time. So once made, its best to try and wait at least three months before tucking into this store cupboard favourite! Chutneys will keep for up to two years unopened. Store them in a cool, dark place, and once opened transfer to the fridge. The vinegar corrodes metal so be sure to useplastic-coated metal lids for your chutneys.

Chutneys ~ are a slow cooked combination of fruit and vegetables with sugar, spices and vinegar.

Relishes ~ are similar to chutneys in terms of their ingredients, but they are cooked for less time, so they tend to be chunkier.

Pickles ~ are made using raw or lightly cooked fruit or vegetables, with vinegar spices and sugar added to preserve them.


If you fancy serving a delicious relish and time is short, then try this quick and easy recipe. Makes enough to serve around eight. It will keep in a covered container in the fridge for about a week- thats if you have any left!

250g onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 pears, cored & chopped
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Put the onions, thyme, vinegars, sugar and water into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pears to the simmering mixture and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Allow to cool completely before serving. Taste great with pork chops, steak or with sausage and mash.


Makes about 1 litre

1kg Blackberries
125ml water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
250ml malt vinegar

Combine half the blackberries and the water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until the berries are soft. Blend or process the mixture until smooth, return to the pan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for around 15 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Pour the hot relish into warmed sterilised jars and seal while hot.

This Relish will add zest to hot and cold meats and savoury snacks. As with all relishes they are best keep in the fridge, for about a month.


Another chutney recipe that is so simple to make. Its a sweet chilli tomato, onion and apple chutney. This one will go great with a ploughmans lunch or a big chunk of mature cheddar ~ Makes around 1.5kg / 3lb.

3 large sweet onions , peeled & diced
1kg baby plum tomatoes, halved
500g cooking apples, peeled, cored & chopped
3 red chillies, finely chopped - leave the seeds in if you wish
200g light muscovado sugar
350ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan, add the onions, cook gently with salt for 10 mins until golden brown. Next add the tomatoes, apples, paprika and the chilli, cook for 5 mins until tomatoes have started to break down. Stir in the sugar, vinegar and tomato puree. Bring to the boil then simmer for 25 - 30 mins until mixture is nice and thick, stirring occasionally . Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars, cool, before securing the lids.

Great with a chunk of cheddar! ~ Makes about 1.4KG

2 cooking apples, peeled ,cored & diced
2 pears, peeled ,cored & diced
2 large onions, chopped
75g Sultanas
150g dried Cranberries
1tsp cumin seeds
cinnamon stick
350g demerara sugar
300ml malt vinegar
grated zest & the juice of a lemon

Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 35 mins or until there is no more excess liquid and the mixture is lovely and thick. Spoon into sterilised jars, cover and seal. These will last for upto 3 months in a cool, dark place, once opened use with in 1 month and store in the fridge.


Really simple to make, and can be eaten hot or cold.

4 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teasp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tblsp Balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a large pan, stir in the onions and salt and cover. Cook for around 5 mins until the onions have softened. Uncover and saute the onions, stirring frequently until tender and very well browned, this will take around about 20 - 25 mins. Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.


This is a dark, jammy Chutney, which has a nice savoury flavour of rosemary and garlic.

450g /1lb Plums, stoned
1 large Onion, finely chopped
75g / 3oz Raisins
250g /9oz light muscovado sugar
450ml / 3/4 pint red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 cinnamon sticks
3 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 orange
2 large sterilised jam jars.

In a heavy- based pan. Add all the ingredients and stir well. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat and half cover the pan with a lid and simmer. Simmer for about a couple of hours, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. When it is thick and jammy. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks, rosemary and bay leaves. Leave to cool and pour into jars, seal when cooled. ~Can be eaten now or kept for up to 3 months in the fridge.



An easy to make Classic yellow Pickle.
Makes about 1.1kg ( 2 1/2 lb)

225g / 8oz, Cauliflower, broken into pieces
1 Onion, chopped finely
175g / 6oz Cucumber, diced
175g / 6oz Courgette, diced
175g / 6oz Marrow, diced.
850ml / 1 1/2 pint White Wine Vinegar
2-tsp Mustard Seeds
4tblsp Demerara Sugar
1-tblsp Turmeric
1-tblsp Ground Ginger
1tblsp Mustard powder
1-teasp Peppercorns
3-tblsp Cornflour

Cook the cauliflower and the onion in half the vinegar for 5 mins. Add mustard seeds, peppercorns and the sugar. Stir well and add all of the other vegetables. Make a thin paste with the turmeric, ginger and mustard powder and the remaining vinegar. Add to the vegetables. Cook for 5 mins. Blend cornflour with a little water then add to the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring until it thickens. Now simmer for 10 mins. Pour into sterilized jars. ~ The Piccalilli can be used now, or kept for up to a year.

How do you like yours?..Crisp or soft, sweet or sour, mildly spiced or chilli hot?
If you like them sweet, then add Honey in the recipe, if you prefer a sharper taste then leave it out. Cider vinegar, rather than Malt will give a less aggressive flavour. Try using other spices as well Cumin, Coriander..

Makes 1 x 900g jar

1kg small pickling onions/ shallots
50g fine salt
600ml Vinegar- Cider, Malt, or Wine
150g Honey or sugar
15g fresh root ginger, lightly bruised
2 tsp allspice berries
2-3 mace-blades
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black /white peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 dried chillies- optional
2 bay leaves

Snip the tops and the rooty bottoms off the onions. Place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Count to 20 slowly, drain them and then plunge into cold water. You can then peel off the skins easily.

Put the peeled onions into a shallow dish. Sprinkle with salt, cover and leave overnight. Meanwhile, pour the vinegar into a pan and add the honey or sugar, ginger and the spices ( not the bay leaves). Cover and bring to boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse overnight.

Strain the spiced vinegar. Rinse the onions in cold water, drain and pack into sterilized jars with the bay leaves. Pour over the vinegar ( re-heating vinegar if you want softer onions) and seal with a vinegar -proof lid. Mature for 6-8 weeks before using. Use within 12 months.

Here is a nice recipe for pickled beetroot, there are many ways of pickling beets,
 but this is one of my favourites, and it tastes delicious.

Makes 2 Jars.

1kg  fresh beetroot
100g  granulated sugar
700ml  Red wine vinegar
1 tsp  salt
1 tsp  coriander seeds
10 pepercorns
4  red- chillies ,halved.

Start by washing the beetroot, making sure not to break there skins, trim the tops and remove any leaves.
Place in a large pan and cover with boiling water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat,
 cover and simmer for about an hour, until tender.

Drain  and allow to cool then rub the skins off, ( beetroot will stain your hands ,so use gloves if you want )

Place the vinegar, sugar, salt , coriander seeds and peppercorns in a pan, heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Wash and sterilise two  1.litre Jars in warm oven for for 15 mins.

 Cut the beetroot into quarters and put into the Jars, along with 2 chillies for per Jar.
Pour in the hot vinegar spice mix and seal the Jars.

Leave the pickle to rest for a week or so before using, so the beets to absorb all those delicious spicy flavours.

Once opened keep in fridge and use within 5-7 days.

 ** Try using different spices... Star Anise, Juniper berries, cloves , cinnamon.


Great served with Japanese/Asian style food. Tuck them in sandwiches, lovely with cheese.

Makes 350g

280g Sliced Radishes
2 small Red Onions, thinly sliced
125ml White Wine Vinegar
100g Sugar
2 tsp Salt
6 whole black peppercorns

Put the Radishes and Onion slices into a large jar.

Put the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolves.

Combine with the salt & peppercorns, mix well, then pour over the radishes and onions. Cover the jar and chill overnight for the best flavour.

Making Jam ~ tips and recipes