Fermentation and pickling seems very 'of the moment' but these process are far from a whimsical trend, they are a failsafe way of making the most of a crop and help to extend the season. Chutney is one of the most-loved preserving techniques.

Parsnip soup served with a spoonful of medlar jam

The mix of sweet and sour flavours is a wonderful pairing with cheese and cold meats, and is a simple way to enhance basic meals like sandwiches or quiche. Apples are one crop that preserves well. In this recipe the sweet apple flavour benefits from the tang of the tamarind, the sour pulp extracted from the bean of the tamarind tree. Make this home-made pickle now and it will be ready to eat in a month's time, when a spiced spoon of chutney will be a warm tonic to winter weather.

Recipe for apple and fruit chutney with spices
Warm spices are added to cooking apples, onions, and raisins to make a deliciously sweet and sour chutney.


  • Take 1tbsp of dried pickling spices (a mix of mustard seeds, dried chillies, cloves, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, coriander)
  • 450g onions, finely chopped
  • 300ml white vinegar
  • 900g cooking apples (weight when peeled and cored)
  • 5cm lump dried tamarind
  • 350g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 walnut-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 6 fresh red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 100g raisins
  • sea salt and pepper.

Makes approx five medium (350ml) jars.

  1. Put the pickling spices in a small square of fabric and tie up.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a cup of boiling water.
  3. Gently simmer the onions with half the vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan for 10 minutes.
  4. Peel, core and chop the apples into 2cm cubes and add to the pan with the rest of the vinegar, the spices, raisins, sugar, ginger, chillies, mustard seeds, a little sea salt and pepper.
  5. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Rub the softened tamarind through a sieve with a wooden spoon straight into the pan. Stir well.
  7. Cook for about 45 minutes at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to get a thick jam-like texture.
  8. Remove from the heat and spoon into hot sterilised jars.
  9. Cover with waxed paper discs, seal and store in a dark cupboard for at least a month.