Apple Onion Chutney and Canning for the First Time

Apple Onion ChutneySo I’ve been making good use of the smoker this summer and one thing I feel you always need when barbecuing is a good sauce to accompany the meat.  Steaks have marinades and chimichurri but one condiment which I think goes great with cured and smoked meats is this apple onion chutney. 

The recipe comes straight from my mom’s recipe books and makes enough for canning, as in get out some mason jars and preserve for later.  I’ll admit this kind of scared me at first as I’ve never canned a thing in my life.  My grandmother did it, my mom does it, but I’ve never dabbled with it.  I really wanted to make this recipe though and instead of reducing the amount I figured I’d give it a go.  I can honestly say I was surprised at the simplicity of the process and I’ve now got a couple of jars stocked in the pantry for use over the winter with roasted pork and chicken.

So how’s the apple onion chutney taste?  Delicious, but has a lot of brown sugar in it so it’s pretty sweet.  Not quite too sweet but almost, you really need to pair it with something which will balance out the sweetness (like my smoked chicken).  I think it either needs more vinegar or less sugar or a little of both.  That said, as it is the chutney is still a very good pairing with smoked things.  The smoke and the rub spices balance out the sweetness.  And there’s a very nice onion flavor layered in.

One note on this whole experience.  According to my mom’s recipe, you should have enough for 5 pint jars.  And it says ‘pints’ in the recipe.  I ended up with 3 ½ pint jars filled.  Now where’d my other jar and a half go?  I think maybe her jars were actually 12 oz jars so you’ve got around 60 oz. of apple onion chutney, which if you’re using full 16 oz pint jars like me, will yield only about 3 ½ jars, no matter how much you try.  Anyway, I expect I’ll receive an email from her when she reads this and hopefully that will clarify things.  UPDATE: I made this again, in a much larger batch (I received an order for some!) and have come to the conclusion I must have left out the second round of apple cider vinegar.  I tripled the recipe and came out with exactly 15 jars.  Not surprisingly, it also fixed the flavor balance.  You can definitely taste everything more clearly in the chutney and the ginger gives it a nice zing.  Apologies to my Mom!

Regarding taking your first step with preserving (like me): Follow these directions for canning and you’ll be fine.  It’s really, really easy.  You do not need all those special pots, tongs etc. I used a big pot and a pair of kitchen tongs to handle the jars and it all worked out.  When figuring out how much water to put in the pot I filled up the jars, put the tops on and then filled the pot with water.  Remove the jars and that’s how much water you need.  Dump out the water in the jars before filling with your apple onion chutney.  You should be able to find the jars at most home centers, Walmart, Ace Hardware stores, or the interwebz.

Give it a try, this apple onion chutney is a great condiment to have, and have stored up for later.  Good luck!

Apple Onion Chutney (makes 5 “pint” jars, allegedly, see note above)

  • 1 lb of medium tartness apples, cored and chopped
  • 4 medium-sized onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs mustard seed
  • 3 C of apple cider vinegar (I think it needs more of this…)
  • 4 C firmly packed brown sugar (…and less of this)
  • 1 box of raisins (15 oz)
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tsp salt

Place apples, onion, garlic, lemon juice, mustard seeds, and 2 C of the vinegar in a large pot over medium-high heat on the stove.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.

Add brown sugar, raisins, ginger, salt and remaining C of vinegar.  Increase heat and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

Ladle into pint jars, seal, and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Read and follow these directions for canning.

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