Chutneys, pickles and relishes ready for Christmas

My Birthday is past and so  I know I am late! I have not done my chutneys for Boxing day!

Apart from common language use, there is not  a lot of difference between chutneys, relishes and pickles. All are ways to preserve food, but by definition; chutneys are  a spicy side dish that accompaniment food, relishes are used to give flavour to bland food, and a pickle is a relish preserved in vinegar or brine (most chutneys and relishes have sugar,  pickles don’t.)


Chutneys and pickles can last for years, the acid medium of vinegar kills 99% of germs and bacteria (I f you want to be eco-friendly you can use vinegar to clean your house). Both sugar and salt bind up the water, and thus makes the water unavailable to the bacteria to use. If you ever see a mold or jams or chutneys is because someone has used a dirty knife or spoon,and left something else on top of the preserve.

Chutneys almost always taste better after three months in the jar, and will last for years. I have jars I made in 2013 and are still excelllent.

Most people make big batches of chutneys, this is purely down to making it time effective , I don’t have  the space to store loads of jars at once, and we only use about 4 or 5 jars of each a year. So I tend to make one or two every three months. I don’t treat this a chore, I just crack a bottle of wine, put a good DVD in the player and off i go.



On my first blog I said that I don’t use much fancy equipment, and I don’t.

you will see people talking about sterilization kits, kilner jars,  tongs and loads of gubbins. The only gizmo i use is an  easy fill funnel. They cost about £6.50  from Lakeland or any good cook shop. The sole reason for the funnel is to get the chutney neatly in the jar. if you have a steady hand you can do without. I always use old jam jars,  and if the lids are naff ( they have rust spots showing) I use jam jar covers, about £3  for 100. 

To use the jam jar covers, simply wet, put over the jar and hold in place with the elastic band. If you really want jar lids you can buy  them cheap enough at any pound shop.


Heat the oven to gas mark 1. Clean the jam jar and lids in soapy water, rinse and place on baking trays in the oven ( make sure they do not touch) for twenty minutes, and use as needed. THAT IS IT!  Also make sure the funnel is heated as well.

Fire Forge Chuntey.

I made this the first time for my mate Dave Budd, Dave is a blacksmith who enjoys tricking unsuspecting friends with a vodka laced with scot bonnet. This was designed to trick him back, but it also goes really well with honeyed ham or very strong Chedder .



700g mixed chilis ( i use 600 g bog standard supermarket chili and 100 g birds eye for an extra zing ((do not use birds eyes unless you like it hot))

3 tablespoons of sweet smoked paprika

1 1/2 tablespoons of tumeric

2 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar ( a little less is best)

3/4 teaspoon of either chili salt or rock salt

2 oz of fresh ginger ( I buy some and grate it and freeze it until needed)

3 fl oz of either walnut oil or sesame oil ( or failing this, any oil)

3 fl oz of white wine vinegar



Fry the chili, spices and ginger for about 15 minutes ( make sure there is a fizzling sound so that is is frying not sweating). Add suagr and vinegar, bring to a very rapid boil and stir until thick and sticky ( about 10 minutes). Decant into the jars. told you it was easy.

At the same time I made a red onion chutney, my wife’s favourite. I would be  shot if I  put up a cold platter with out it. As I am only making small batches of these, it is easy to do a few  different ones at a time, as long as you keep up with the washing up.




8 Medium red onions

1 Red chilli  ( or a grind of chili flakes or smoked paprika- anything for a little kick, or none at all, your choice!)

2 Bay leaves- (fresh if you got them if not dried)

25ml  Cold pressed rapeseed oil for cooking – (olive oil will actually taste better but is much worse for you when cooked)

200g Brown sugar

150 g Balsamic and 150g of red wine vinegar. You must use balsamic but the other one is down to your tastes)


full onions DSCN1176[1]

Cook onions, bay and chili in oil until dark and sticky ( about 1/2 hour).  Make sure there is a fizzling sound so that is is frying not sweating). It will be reduced by about 1/2

Add the vinegars and sugars until reduced to darker and stickier, about 30 minutes.


Decant into jars.

chutney last

I always thought chutneys were difficult. They take practice to make they super yummy but they are easy to start with.

As always any questions just ask.



2 thoughts on “Chutneys, pickles and relishes ready for Christmas

  1. these chutneys might be quick and simple, but from tasting them I can vouch for their extreme tastiness. Certainly the jars that I’ve had weren’t big enough!

    I think the key to making chutney and jam is to have somebody else on hand to do the washing up for you 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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