Traditionally, chutneys are made from gluts of fruit and vegetables in summer and autumn. This Apricot and Orange Chutney recipe, using dried apricots and sweet oranges is an exception, one I make at the end of the marmalade season in early March. Come the early summer, in two to three months, the chutney will be mature and ready for eating. If you can resist opening a jar, Apricot and Orange Chutney chutney will be a winning one to serve with cold cuts at Christmas.


Makes around 2.75kg

500g sweet oranges
450g dried apricots
450g onions

225g sultanas

100g candied or stem ginger in syrup, drained
6 cloves garlic
30g allspice berries, bruised

30g coriander seeds, crushed
15g mustard seed


15ml salt

1.15 litres cider vinegar
450g demerara sugar

1) Soak the apricots in a covering of cold water overnight.

2) The next day, drain the apricots, reserving 300ml of the soaking liquid. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Place these in a large preserving pan with a lid. Pour over the reserved 300ml of soaking liquid. Bring the pan to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer the onions and garlic until very soft.

3) Remove the lid from the pan and set aside. Finely chop the apricots, ginger and sultanas. Remove the zest then the pulp from the oranges. Chop the pulp. Add the orange zest, pulp, ginger, and sultanas to the pan. If you have a food processor, use it to finely chop the apricots, orange pulp, ginger and sultanas.

4) Tie the spices up in a piece of muslin and add it to the pan with the vinegar and salt. Bring the pan slowly to the boil, then turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer. Cook for about an hour, until the contents of the pan are pulpy, stirring occasionally.

5) Add the sugar and dissolve it carefully. Continue to cook gently until the contents of the pan are thick and no “free” liquid remains. Stir frequently to prevent the chutney sticking to the bottom of the pan. Place the jars in a pre-heated oven 140C/275F/Gas1 for 15 minutes.

6) Remove the pan from the heat and the jars from the oven. Squeeze out the liquid from the muslin bag back into the pan. Stir the chutney and ladle it into a glass or plastic jug. Pour the chutney into the jars, filling them to within 5mm from the top. Seal the jars with new, vinegar resistant twist top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed until cold. Store for 2-3 months before opening.

Photos by Jennifer Barnaby