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This is one of those marvellous recipes that you’ll turn to again and again. Try it once and you’ll see how easy it is to play around with the ingredients – stick to the approximate overall amount and you’ll find it’s very forgiving.

Method

Put the vegetables and fresh fruit into a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas and sugar. Make the wine vinegar up to 1 litre with water and add to the pan with the chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices together in a square of muslin. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, then slowly bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 3 hours, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced. To test, drag a wooden spoon through the mixture: it should part to form a channel and reveal the base of the pan. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water. Allow to cool slightly.

Pot the chutney while still warm in sterilised jars. Seal with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks – ideally 2 months – before using.

Serving suggestions

Vary the summer veg and fruit with whatever takes your fancy.

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Ingredients

Makes about 10 x 340g jars

1kg overgrown courgettes or marrows, unpeeled if small,

peeled if huge, cut into 1cm dice

500g onions, peeled and diced

1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded,

skinned and roughly chopped

1kg cooking or eating apples,

peeled and diced

500g sultanas or raisins

500g light brown sugar

750ml white wine (or cider) vinegar

1–3 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

For the spice bag

1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried

ginger, roughly chopped

12 cloves

12 black peppercorns

1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds

A few blades of mace

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Patch Handbook