Spiced Quince Chutney
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    Makes about 5 x 250g jars
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Quinces bring back fond memories of my family back home in South Africa and particularly of my late grandmother, Leen. I have written many times of her preserved quinces in syrup.

At the pub in Suffolk, we used to get many buckets filled with quinces as gifts from regular customers. Mr P was in charge of ripening them, a process more commonly known as ‘bletting’. For recipes such as this one, the quinces need to be bletted before use to make sure they are ripe and almost squidgy before you begin. Mr P caringly used to spread out the quinces in perforated plastic baskets and then keep them in a dark shed. Once a week he attended to them by turning them, removing the rotten ones and then selecting the quinces that were ready to use. The smell wafting from the shed was superb and fantastically fragrant.

Towards the end of the season we would then make a large batch of this delicious mildly spiced and aromatic quince chutney and jar it to be sold over the bar.

I absolutely love how the humble quince has remained such an integral and fantastic seasonal ingredient in my life, from my childhood to happy times at the pub and beyond.photo of Spiced Quince Chutney

Ingredients & Method

  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 large fresh red chillies, deseeded
  • 100g peeled fresh root ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 500g (prepared weight) bletted quinces, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm dice
  • 500ml unsweetened apple juice
  • 150g (prepared weight) eating apples (skin left on), cored and coarsely grated
  • 100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, cut into 1cm dice
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Put the onion, chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds and saffron into a food processor and blend together until minced and combined.

Transfer the minced mixture to a large, heavy-based saucepan, then add the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick, star anise and some salt and pepper. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Cook, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until the mixture has reduced and thickened to a syrup.

Stir in the quinces, apple juice, grated apples and dried apricots, then bring the mixture back to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cook the mixture, uncovered, over a medium heat for 30–35 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to a thick consistency, no excess liquid remains and the quinces are soft, stirring occasionally (the colour will change and become slightly orange/pink). Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then spoon the chutney into hot, sterilised jars. Cover with vinegar-proof lids and seal. Leave to cool, then label and store in a cool, dry cupboard. Store for at least 1 week before using to allow the flavours to develop.

The unopened jars of chutney should keep well for up to 3 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Serve this chutney with hot roast venison, pheasant, partridge or grouse, or serve it in a sandwich with cold roast pork or pulled venison shoulder. Alternatively, try serving the chutney with cheese of your choice and crackers.