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Wednesday 22 September 2010

Sluttishly Savoury: Cucumber Chutney

I’m a recent convert to the Church of Chutney. For many a year, I maintained that they were, in a word, foul. Oh how wrong I was. You will need to either buy some new jam jars, or collect some old ones and sterilise them

This chutney is super easy, quick and packs a real punch. It’s the perfect solution for a lunch that needs jazzing up. (Jazzing up? Someone’s stuck in the 90’s.)

You Will Need:
  • Approximately 6 jam jars (quantity depends of jar sizes)
  • 2kgs Cucumber
  • 2 onions
  • 1 small cabbage (green, or red if you want a pinky chutney)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 tbs chilli powder
Make it!
  • Chop the garlic finely and all your vegetables into bite sized pieces
  • Add to a large pot with vinegar, sugar, cornflour, salt, turmeric and chilli
  • On a high heat, bring mixture to boil
  • Once boiling, simmer for 20mins
  • Arrange your jars on a baking tray, and put them in a low oven for 10 mins
  • Once the chutney is ready, carefully ladle into the warm jars
Some Hot Tips:
  1. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s so quick to organise that it’s not a problem at all
  2. Keep a close eye on the jars in the oven - I had several disasters when making this. If they’re too hot they’ll crack as soon as you ladle in the chutney
  3. Put the lids on as soon as you can, and turn the jars upside down. This will help create an airtight seal, which will make you chutney last longer
  4. This tastes wonderful when it’s slightly crunchy, so don’t overcook!


  1. Love chutney (have already made mine for the year). Another great one (if you have an overdose of courgettes) is using Hugh whatsits recipe for "Glutney"

  2. Sorry Sam! Not a fan and you can't convince me!

  3. Hi

    Turning jars over to help seal may be unsafe advice.

    There are opposing camps on this, both camps are concerned with the integrity of the vacuum seal.

    Camp 1 - say its not a good idea to allow any food stuffs near the top edge of the jar because the vacuum does not form instantly and as we all know it is not advisable to over tighten lids - the lid is to be held down by vacuum not by over tightening.

    Camp 2 - say that by introducing liquid into the cap region it liquid may somehow aid the seal formation.

    If this sounds confusing remember that the word seal is used in two ways - firstly a ring of plastic on the inside of the jar, secondly it refers to the overall integrity of a vaccum.

    There are some dubious practises indicated here, for instance oven heating of jars and hot filling but with no mention of subsequent processing in a boiling water bath.

    I am sure this is a great recipe but the safety standards here are not up to date. I would recommend reading the following and becoming familiar with modern and safe methods of preserving.

    The basics of this is that after hot filling the jars are submerged in boiling water for a sufficient time that the jar, lid and contents all reach 100C for a specified time.

    An additional note not always stressed sufficiently is that vaccum formation is not instant, therefore a jar left tto cool in open air may pull in some unsterilised air before the vacuum is sufficiently strong to seal the lid.

    For this reason the safest practise is to turn off the heat and allow the jars to cool still submerged. This means that only boiled water will enter the jars during vacuum formation.

    Everyone has anedoctal evidence that "old recipes" and "old practises" are safe but then why is it that most states in the US have very stringent recommendations in this regard. Granny may not have poisoned herself or anyone else but this does not mean her method was safe, it may just mean she got away with it.

    Finally lids should have some method of establishing a vacuum, either button pop lids - all jars need to be tested to make sure the vacuum/seal did form.

  4. An clarification on my last posting

    Camp 1 - say its not a good idea to allow any food stuffs near the top edge of the jar because the vacuum does not form instantly and as we all know it is not advisable to over tighten lids - the lid is to be held down by vacuum not by over tightening."

    The point here being that a small particle of food may enter the gap between the plastic seal and the top of the glass jar before the vacuum is at full strength. When the vacuum does form it may squash that particle of food but this does not guarantee a sound seal, it also allows a possibility for food that is both inside and outside the jar and therefore a partially spoiled food particle might exist in the seal area.


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