fig chutney with British plums

Yes, these brands are a tad more expensive than run-of-the-mill preserves and chutneys found in stores. But you are supporting local artisans, and they make use of local fruits and vegetables, and also taste far better. So treat yourself and eat less of them! To be fair, brand-name chutneys are not the worst as the ingredients are pretty okay, but it’s nice to support local artisans instead!

Read up on food safety for people & pets (many human foods like dried fruits, garlic and spices are unsafe around animal friends).

Chutney is actually derived from India (hence why mango chutney is also popular to accompany a curry). It’s from the Indian word ‘chaatna’ which means ‘to lick’ in Hindi. It’s sold in many varieties from mild and fruity to very spicy! Mostly made with apples (or mango), onions and vinegar, some varieties also contain mustard. It’s great with a vegan cheese sandwich or English Ploughman’s, and also nice stirred into rice, or used as a marinade.

Piccalilli is a popular alternative, made with cauliflower, runner beans and other vegetables, again with mustard powder and sometimes garlic. It’s again often served with a Ploughman’s or vegan meats and tomatoes.

Of course, the most popular preserves in England are likely jam and marmalade, often served on toast for breakfast. Most jam is high in sugar and made with pectin (a soluble fruit fibre used to thicken jam – modern simple recipes tend to omit it). Choose seedless for children, swallowing difficulties or teeth problems. Marmalade is similar but likely to be made with oranges.

Fruits of the Forage is an interesting local company that makes award-winning preserves. The difference is they are made with traditional heritage fruits and wild plants. They forage blackberries, sweet cicely, ground elder, dandelions, crab apples, sloes and elderflower from the Peak District. They also pick fruits from a local orchard, in return for helping preserve landscapes in Vale of Evesham. 

Hogweed Curry Chutney is made with surplus pumpkins, left in the field after Halloween). They also use imperfect Bramley apples, and rejected carrots, tomatoes and raspberries. The range includes: 

  1. Plum & rosehip jam
  2. Hedgerow harvest jam
  3. Raspberry & wild apple jam
  4. Mulled plum jam
  5. Quince preserve
  6. Fig chutney with plums
  7. Herefordshire cider onion chutney
  8. Carrot curry chutney
  9. Damson breakfast sauce
  10. Dandelion flower syrup
  11. Pickled wild garlic
  12. Winter warmer cordial

Kitchen Garden Foods (Gloucestershire) is a small family firm that makes small batch chutneys and other preserves, all made with natural ingredients. With over 100 awards, these organic products are renowned and include:

  • Real ale chutney
  • Sweet onion relish
  • Piccalilli
  • Orchard chutney with cider
  • Apple mint jelly
  • Redcurrant jelly
  • Three fruit marmalade
  • Strawberry & blueberry jam
  • English plum jam
  • Raspberry jam
  • Blackcurrant jam
  • Country fruit chutney

Hembridge Organics began as a mother offering organic veggies in a box scheme, to fit around her son’s school hours. Now it offers quality organic preservs including:

  • Ale house chutney
  • Piccalilli
  • Somerset salsa!
  • Plum & brandy jam
  • Autumn chutney
  • Tayberry jam
  • Rhubarb marmalde
  • Pear & cinnamon jam
  • Cherry jam
  • Gooseberry jam

Meridian Foods Fruit Spreads are delicious, organic and sold in glass jars. Handmade in Somerset, choose from blackcurrant (149 per jar) or wild blueberry (253 per jar). Sweetened with apple juice, enjoy them on toast for breakfast with crumpets or English muffins, or stir into plant-based yoghurt or a bowl of porridge.

The Cherry Tree offers chutneys created by a fourth-generation chutney master. Flavours include:

  • Hot garlic
  • Onion marmalade
  • BBQ Relish
  • Real ale
  • Sweet cider
  • Horseradish sauce

Claire’s Handmade (Cumbria) began with a grandmother’s plum chutney recipe in the kitchen, and now offers many award-winning products including:

  • Apple & pear chutney
  • Beetroot chutney with ginger
  • Lakeland rambler’s relish (carrots, sultanas, spices)
  • Spiced pear & gin jelly
  • Seedless raspberry jam

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