Boxing Day Chutney – no need to save it until Christmas, you can eat this straight away

boxing day chutney

Boxing Day Chutney – no need to wait til Christmas for it!

I make quite a lot of chutney but tend to give most of it away rather than eat much of it ourselves. This one, however, we will be eating a lot of as well as giving away. I found the recipe in Kirstie Allsop’s “Christmas Crafts” and it sounded like a perfectly delicious way to use up some of my large supply of apples.

It’s called Boxing Day Chutney because it has so many Christmas flavours and ingredients: apples, dates, apricots, cranberries and mixed spice, amongst others. Cider vinegar and orange juice provide the liquid and the chutney is thickened by the apples and dried fruits as much as by the time spent cooking it. The smaller proportion of vinegar means that the chutney does not need time to mellow and can be eaten straight away. I assume that likewise it will not keep as long as chutney made in the traditional way, but it should keep well until the Christmas season really starts.

I had a couple of issues with the recipe in Kirstie’s book, both of which should have been picked up by proper proof reading but you won’t have the same problems.

I never take too much notice of the amount a recipe for preserves says it will make as all my jars are different sizes and I can never remember how many grams each one holds. I tend to put a few more jars than I think I will need in the oven and use as many as it takes.

The recipe claims to make about five 200g jars. However, if you look at the ingredients, you’ll notice that they add up to over 3kg in fruit and vegetables and the liquid element is almost 2 litres. There is no way that amount of ingredients is turning out a kilo of chutney, unless you are planning on cooking it until next Christmas.

The recipe tells you to put the dried fruits in a bowl with the orange juice and leave for about 20 minutes, to absorb the liquid. Then it says put everything in the pan except for the sugar, bring gently to the boil and simmer. Which I did. Then the next step tells you to add the marinated fruit to the saucepan… You can see my confusion!

homemade chutney

Everything in the pan except the sugar

I have now read and re-read the recipe and because “Meanwhile” was at the beginning of the sentence,  it assumes that “everything” excludes the dried fruit. It clearly doesn’t matter too much but I think it probably takes a lot longer to cook if you add everything at the start.

And I ended up with 16 jars of chutney.

boxing day chutney

A lot of Chutney!

So it’s lucky we like it as much as we do. We took a jar to the Isle of Wight with us and it took me a while to convince my mum that we had more than enough for them to open it straight away and still have some leftover for Christmas. And even better, you can buy it for yourself or your friends if you don’t have time to make it: Victoria Cranfield, of the award-winning Cranfields, devised this recipe for Kirstie Allsop.

This is the recipe in full but to make a smaller amount you will just need to halve or quarter the amounts.



1kg dried apricots

175g pitted, chopped dates

450g raisins

600ml orange juice (about 8 oranges)

900g chopped onion

900g peeled, cored and chopped cooking apples

340g cranberries

1.2 litres cider vinegar

50g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Zest of two oranges

1 kg white sugar


Put the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the orange juice so that the mixture can absorb the liquid: it should take about 20 minutes.

homemade chutney

Marinate the fruit in the orange juice

Put all the other ingredients except the sugar into a large pan and bring to the boil.

Allow to simmer until the onions become transparent and the cranberries start to pop. This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the marinated fruit to the pan with the sugar, stir well and bring back to the boil.

The liquid should start to thicken quite quickly: you do not need to wait until you can make a channel through this chutney, as with traditional ones, it just needs to be thick enough.

Once ready carefully ladle the chutney into hot, sterilised jars and seal.

boxing day chutney

Keep some and eat some now!

Label once cool.

This chutney can be eaten straight away and is particularly good with cheese and cold meats: perfect for Boxing Day.

In the meantime I need to get started on some of Kirstie’s other Christmas Crafts!

Categories: Fruit, Gifts, Jam making and Preserves, Recipes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. We make an apricot chutney similar to this. Love chutney! This looks lovely. And they make a great gift.

  2. This looks gorgeous. I love anything with Christmas flavours so I completely agree that this is too good to be kept just for Christmas/Boxing day! Delicious! x

  3. Looks beautiful and succulent — perfect for these cooling days!

  4. Just finished making this and it’s DELICIOUS! Thank you.

  5. Haha you are right … I logged on as mine is just in its final stages now and I was looking at the quantity and looking at my woefully inadequate jars … I am now going to have to raid the storecupboard and empty all those jars with half an inch of something in them!

  6. How long will the chutney last for?

  7. I have just made a batch of this chutney. Going to give some away as gifts. I did slightly alter the recipe and substituted some of the orange juice liquid and the vinegar for a good slug or 2 of port. Just to make it more festive. I hope it tastes ok. Fingers crossed.

  8. we’ve been making this for at least three years now, it’s unbeatable for flavour and the huge quantities mean it lasts for ages! I just featured we’ve run out so have to panic buy more ingredients tomorrow!

  9. You absolute star, thank you for doing this. I was looking at the recipe thinking eh?? Is this a fruit shrinking spell? Will be cracking on with it today.


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