Make your own: Jam and chutney

October 11th 2011katie

Aah, jam and chutney-making: one of those things that seems like an insanely complicated dark art until you actually try it, and realise it’s pretty much as easy as boiling an egg. I took a relaxed Saturday introductory class at the Make Lounge and emerged with fears debunked and four cute jars of tasty preserves to take home.

making jam & chutney

You don’t even need any special kit like sugar thermometers or fancy funnels: just a large heavy-based pan and some sterilised jars. Ingredients-wise nearly any fruit will do, along with sugar for gelling and vinegar for preserving, in the case of chutney. The tutor Chloe explained to us that high-pectin fruits can take normal sugar whereas lower-pectin fruits like strawberries need a little help with special jam sugar. During the afternoon-long class we made 4 recipes; two sweet jams and two savoury chutneys – the basic process is pretty much the same.

making jam & chutney
making jam & chutneymaking jam & chutney

The process itself basically involves lots of chopping (a team of about ten of us took the best part of half an hour chopping 4kg of red onions!) then a lot of stirring and waiting for the jammy magic to happen. Luckily this involves bread, cheese and cider when done Make Lounge style.

making jam & chutney
making jam & chutney

While they bubbled away we got crafty decorating the jars with ribbon, fabric and sticky-backed plastic.

making jam & chutney
making jam & chutney

I think the idea with these sweetly-dressed-up jars was to give them as Christmas gifts, but I didn’t waste much time digging in and having a try. Purely in the interests of quality control, you understand…

making jam & chutney
making jam & chutney

The caramelised onion chutney is my favourite, and it felt well-deserved after chopping all those onions! I used up most of the jar making this near-instant dinner: just add the jam to shortcrust or puff pastry and top with feta or goat’s cheese for speedy caramelised onion tarts.

making jam & chutney

And I’m not usually a fruity jam kind of person because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this homemade blackberry and apple tastes truly sharp and bursting with berry fruit flavours, unlike any bought jam I’ve ever tried. I bet it’d be amazing in a sweet pastry tart.

making jam & chutney

We also made plum, orange and cinnamon jam and a sweet chilli chutney which I’m yet to sample. I’m really excited to have a go myself now and make some to give as Christmas presents.

There’s new dates for the Make Lounge workshop coming up soon, so keep an eye on the site for details.

Comments (11)

  • Sian

    October 11th 2011 at 11:46 am

    What gorgeous photos, Katie! I love chutney, this class looks brilliant.

  • Jules

    October 11th 2011 at 12:32 pm

    What fabulous timing, I myself made blackberry and apple jam yesterday for the first time ever!
    It was so much fun, so easy and oh my word it tastes amazing (if i do say so myself!)
    We also opened a jar or chilli chutney I made a month or so ago (first attempt too) that wasn’t bad either! I am never buying shop brought stuff again I don’t think, My husband is forever doomed to a lifetime of chopping fruit and veg, and a pantry full of jam jars! :)
    ps: If you have the recipe for the onion chutney that would be fab, I have a glut of red onions to use up!

  • Alexis

    October 11th 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Love the look of the instant dinner… that might be the inspiration I need to get chopping…

  • Michelle

    October 11th 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I made some strawberry and raspberry jam for the first time a few weeks ago and it definitely tastes better than any store bought jam I have ever had. These look delicious.

  • Jodie

    October 13th 2011 at 10:15 am

    9Ooo, I’ve always wanted to give jam and chutney making a go. These look adorable as well!

  • jessica

    October 13th 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Hi! I love the canning post. The recipes would be really awesome, especially for the red onion chutney! I found this recipe.., is it similar to the one you made??

    1. Katie

      October 13th 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Jessica, I can’t really share them as they aren’t my own, but yes that one looks very similar!

  • Laura @cubits

    October 15th 2011 at 2:22 am

    Hi there,
    I’ve stumbled onto your site from your etsy shop and I think I have a crush on your blog :)

    I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than by canning with friends.

  • Claire

    October 17th 2011 at 10:58 am

    I really love the dotty lids, could you let us know where you got your jam jars from?

    1. Katie

      October 17th 2011 at 11:12 am

      Hi Claire, they were included with the class but believe they came from :)

  • Claire

    October 17th 2011 at 11:43 am

    Lovely, thanks!

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