As the longest January on record (fact) finally bids us farewell, marmalade season is still in full swing. We all know that my fondness of marmalade could rival Paddington himself, but even I have to (very reluctantly) set a limit on how many jars of it I make. Even with a pantry full of lemon, seville orange & grapefruit marmalades though, I still can’t let go of the seasons beautiful oranges whilst they’re still readily available to buy, so, this year I thought I’d mix it up a little, set myself a little challenge.
Not content to let the seasons best, bold & vibrant blood oranges go by for another year, I tried to preserve them in a slightly different way, in a chutney. I’d normally consider chutney a summer preserve, because this is when I would usually chop, bubble & boil any colourful garden gluts to see me through the winter months. However, pretty much any fruit or vegetable can be transformed into a delicious chutney, so I figured why not an orange?
A little bit of chopping & boiling later, what I’d created was the savoury cousin of my favourite marmalades, a vibrant, spicy blood orange chutney. This now means that I can pretty much eat some kind of marmalade with every meal (winning!). I’m extremely pleased with the results, the blood oranges imparted their blood-red hues perfectly to produce a vivid colour more reminiscent of sunnier times, one that is most welcome in these dark & dreary months.
Like most chutneys, leave this to mature for a few weeks, allowing the acidity & flavours to mellow & mingle together nicely. This is sweet & tangy but with a lovely little kick. If you prefer less heat though, keep the chillies to a minimum but definitely don’t omit them for a well-rounded flavour. I’m already planning another batch of this before the winter citrus season is out but if you have trouble finding blood orange in the market then any sweet orange will work just as well for flavour.
SPICY BLOOD ORANGE CHUTNEY
- 1 kg blood oranges
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4-5 chillies (of any colour), finely chopped
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 150g golden sultanas
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 450g granulated sugar
- 350ml cider vinegar
- Start off by zesting the oranges & adding into a large maslin pan or heavy bottomed saucepan
- Once zested, peel the oranges & discard the peel
- Chop the orange flesh into bitesized chunks & add to the pan
- Add all of the other ingredients to the pan & give everything a good stir
- Turn on the heat to a medium temperature & gently simmer for 5-10 minutes until all of the sugar has dissolved
- Once dissolved, increase the heat & bring the pan to the boil
- As soon as you’ve reached a boil, reduce to a medium-high head & simmer the mixture away for 35 – 45 minutes, stirring often to make sure that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan
- After 35 minutes the liquid should have reduced down leaving you with a thickened, pulpy chutney (if not, continue for a further 5 minutes)
- Remove the pan from the heat & leave to cool for 5 minutes before potting up the chutney into a clean, sterilised jars