Christmas brings people together and in my family we all look forward to relaxing together, eating lots of good food and enjoying each other’s company.
Gifts are always appreciated, but even more so when they have been made with love.
Like so many families at Christmas, ham and turkey are staples on our dining table (and the leftovers keep us going for ages!). The perfect accompaniment for a Christmas feast (or to have when indulging in leftovers) is Pineapple Chutney. It goes so nicely with all the Christmas dishes as well as on cheese platters and as a side for curry dinners, pies, barbequed veggies… you name it! It’s even lovely on a slice of fresh bread.
The versatility of Pineapple Chutney makes it a brilliant gift, to be enjoyed at Christmas time and beyond. Making it is a cinch!
Collect together 2 ripe pineapples, red onions and fresh garlic. All the other ingredients are probably already in your pantry. Sugar and Vinegar: I use Demerara sugar and white wine vinegar with a splash of sherry vinegar for some extra oomph, but any brown sugar and vinegar will do the trick. Raisins are gorgeous little sweet surprises and blanched almonds add an amazing texture to the finished product.
Spices need to be balanced perfectly for your chutney to sing. I use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon of turmeric and my favourite – 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Most people would be happy with ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper but the level of zing is up to you. I like my zing to sing!
Golden, juicy pineapples are diced and combined with finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, sugar, vinegar and spices and cooked in one pot. Cleaning up is so easy! Simmer until the juices start to thicken, usually after about 45 minutes, then carefully ladle your delicious chutney into hot sterilized jars fresh out of the oven.
When preparing your jars for chutney make sure they are washed well in hot soapy water, then rinsed equally well. Line the jars up on an oven tray and pop into the oven where you bring the temperature up to 160 degrees Celsius and keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to fill them up with chutney. Boil the lids in a saucepan of water alongside your bubbling golden chutney.
After you’ve filled the jars up (this recipe make approximately 2 ½ litres of chutney) put your lids on nice and tight and turn these jars of delicious hot chutney upside down for 10 minutes before allowing them to cool.
Decorating your chutney is a must for Christmas gift giving. Cute doilies can be picked up at dollar or craft stores or even a second hand shop. If you prefer you could use fabric from your sewing kit or buy some Christmas themed fabric to get into the festive season spirit. Labels made out of craft paper and glued on the jars will have your family and friends smiling every time they open the fridge. Pretty red and white ribbons really set these off and make them look finished.
If you have loved ones with food intolerances or preferences such as vegetarians, vegans, or those who are gluten intolerant this gift is for them! Beware for anyone with nut allergies if you are adding the almonds and if you aren’t sure, include a little list of ingredients on the back.
- 2 pineapples, chopped into small pieces
- 2 red onions, chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 cups of white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 cups of Demerara sugar
- 2 tsp salt, freshly ground
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cumin seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more for added zing)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or longer until the liquid thickens. If adding almonds do so after cooking.
- Poor into hot sterilized jars and upend for 10 minutes then allow to cool.
- Decorate as needed.