Sunday, June 23, 2013

Apricot Chutney

First, you pick the apricots. Of course, you can buy apricots at your grocery store or farmers market. But, if you have a place to pick, why not? Especially if you have a willing assistant. On Wednesday, K and I headed out to Brentwood with our canning buddy, Lisa. 
Several hours later, after a trip to The Farmer's Daughter, where we had picked apricots in the past, we had about 25 pounds of fruit, mainly Blenheim apricots, but a few peaches and nectarines mixed in as well. 

Wisely this time, we decided to leave the canning to the next day. That break gave us a chance to ponder recipes and buy necessary ingredients. As you can see way below, it also gave us the energy needed for a busy day: two types of apricot chutney, apricot syrup and bourboned apricots. 30 jars in all!

The recipe below is one that we have made several times. 
A couple of notes: 
  1. This chutney makes a lot of what I have decided to call chutney juice. Even though you do reduce, at the end of an hour's reduction time, we still had enough extra to can several jars. I plan on using them to cook pork. If you prefer, you can continue to reduce further, but an hour was long enough for me.
  2. You do really want to keep your jars warm in the oven while this reduction is going on.
  3. The first time we made this chutney we were very disappointed in the sharp and vinegary taste. I put it on my canning shelves and left it for about 6 months. When I finally opened it, I loved it. So if possible, plan on letting this jars rest for at least a month if not longer.
A visual look at the recipe, as the ingredients are added to the pot:
First the chopped onions
Next the sliced apricots



Ready to remove the apricots for the syrup reduction
Chunky Apricot Chutney
From Sensational Preserves by Hilaire Walden

6 3/4 pounds ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 cups raisins
3 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
3 teaspoons coriander, crushed
3 3/4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
6 tablespoons sea salt
4 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 3/4 cups white wine vinegar

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and boil, stirring occasionally, until the apricots are completely soft but not disintegrating.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to your jars. Keep warm, in a low oven.
Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it becomes a thick syrup. We have done this numerous times and each time it surprises me how long this will take. Once thickened, and we waited an hour, ladle into your warm-apricot filled jars. Finger seal the jars and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Store for at least one month, (longer is better) before eating.
Yield: 10 1/2 pint jars chutney plus 3 pint jars of what I am calling chutney juice. 

As I mentioned we had a few other projects going as well. The results:

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