Pear Chutney

While the variable weather earlier this year delayed it, we have another stonking pear crop this year. Unfortunately, I’ve also been slightly ill so today has been the first day I’ve been healthy enough to chutney-ficate and my head is still slightly muzzy. So, rather than a inflict incoherent rambling on you, a reprise of my chutney recipe from last year:

One of things that the previous owners of our house left was an established pear tree. It was in need of decisive pruning when we moved in, so—between that and the weather conditions—it didn’t fruit much. However, this year it is fruiting heavily (even with both my wife and I eating at least one pear each every day, we needed to add a second bucket in the kitchen to hold the newly ripe pears and there are still pears scattered on the lawn each morning). So, I’ve spent a segment of today making and bottling pear chutney. Having finally got to the point where Una Cat isn’t at risk of getting sticky or scalded if she investigates, I thought I’d share the recipe while I waited for the seals to set.

A pear tree laden with fruit
©Nicki Higgins

Pear Chutney


Makes approx. ½l jar depending on exact size of fruit and how long it is thickened.

  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and chopped

  • 1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick

  • ½tsp grated ginger

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 star anise

  • 5 cloves

  • 10 black peppercorns

  • salt, to taste

  • 75g brown sugar

  • 75ml cider vinegar

  • 50ml hot water

  • Steps

  • Peel the pears; remove the stalk, stamen, and core; and chop into ½–1cm chunks;

  • Peel the apple; remove the stalk, stamen, and core; and chop into ½–1cm chunks;

  • Slice the onion thinly;

  • Place the pears and apples in a frying pan, wok, or other broad pan;

  • Break the cinnamon stick into a few pieces and add to the pan;

  • Add the salt, sugar, and other spices;

  • Add the vinegar and water and stir until mixed;

  • Bring to the boil, then simmer until the mixture is your preferred thickeness. Depending on depth of pan, ripeness of fruit, &c. thickening is likely to start after 5–8 minutes;

  • Decant into a sterile jar. The chutney can be eaten immediately, but improves if left to mature for at least a week. If sealed, it will keep for several months.

  • If the pan is narrower or the recipe is scaled up, then the mixture is likely to take much longer to thicken. This can be mitigated by splitting the ingredients equally between several pans.

    There was just a series of heavy chonks from the kitchen, so I’m off to spend a month resisting the desire to open a jar.

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