Make Do and Mend the Bank Balance this Christmas

10/12/2012 14:53 GMT | Updated 08/02/2013 10:12 GMT

Gifts that show you care about your loved ones and your bank balance.

Gift: Home-made chutney.

Cost: £6.50 (organic ingredients from The Better Food Company or Waitrose).


• 5 Jars (can be old pasta sauce, honey or actual jam jars available from local kitchen ware store/ Amazon).

• 400 ml water

• Pan with lid (size dependent on amount of ingredients, don't worry if the apples and onions just about fit in, over time the mixture will reduce).

• 12 Apples, cored, peeled and chopped roughly(seasonal and organic if you can).

• 12 Red Onions, same as above.

• 200g sugar (brown).

• 1 tablespoon whole black pepper corns.

• 100g raisins or mixed dried fruit.

• 300g Ginger root, grated.

• Self-adhesive address labels.

• 1 teaspoon of salt.

• 4 cm cinnamon stick or 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder.

• Optional, 1 tablespoon: fennel, coriander, aniseed; cumin.

• Jam Jar funnel (real or makeshift with a circle of greasproof paper with a 3 cm diameter hole in the centre and 2 long strips on either side: -0-).

1. Wash Jam jars and sterilise in a sink by pouring boiling water (from kettle) onto jars and lids. Leave to dry.

2. Place ingredients in a pan (non-stick or aluminium) on the stove and let it come to a boil, stirring occasionally (with reassurance that it will taste delicious).

3. Once boiling, reduce heat so mixture simmers, place lid on top.

4. Leave to simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

5. Check on mixture. It should cling to the spoon and all ingredients should be melted. Place a spoonful on a plate and place in fridge for 25 minutes. If the mixture clings to the plate when the plate is held upside down the mixture is ready. If not then return to stove.

6. If the apple pieces and onion pieces are visible, that is fine. Depending on the water content of your ingredients, the chutney may be uniformly mushy or the pieces may still retain their shape somewhat.

7. Leave to cool to room temperature.

8. When you are ready to jar the mixture place the funnel on top of the jar opening and secure the strips by placing an elastic band over them.

9. Pour mixture into jar. Remove funnel and screw lid firmly on top.

10. To make Ye Olde Time Labels, tea-stain address labels and use a chiselled-tip pen or calligraphy pen to write with.

11. Remember, the chutney will not mature until a month at least. It will taste better with every passing month. We are still using the chutney made last year.