Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Date, Fig & Fennel Chutney


2.5 kg fennel, roughly sliced
750g figs, roughly chopped
400g dates, roughly chopped
2 pints cider vinegar
180g ginger, finely chopped
750g soft brown sugar
4 tsp salt
4 onions, finely chopped


Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. The bigger the pan, the better as it will help to reduce the liquid. You will need a pan that is at least 7.5 litres to fit the above in. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Bear in mind that the chutney will thicken as it cools, so make sure there is some liquid left. Spoon into jars straight from the hot pan. This will ensure a vacuum seal.

Notes for gluttons

If you're planning on keeping the chutney for a while (say, more than 6 months) then I recommend leaving a bit more liquid. This somehow helps the flavour to develop and prevents the chutney from drying out. If the chutney doeas get too dry, or if you want to cook it a little longer to make the flavours richer, you can add a bit of water. Just make sure the chutney has a good boil after you've added it so that any nasties are done away with. Now don't touch the chuntey for 3 months so that it has a chance to mature. Ideally, aim to cellar it for a year or more. As long as its moist enough, this chutney will keep for about 3 years. I bet it wont last that long!