When we venture out to our favourite pick-your-own farm we often go crazy and pick a bucket or two more than we intended. They never go to waste; we always find some way to preserve them.
For the remaining berries I looked to Marisa McClellan’s “Food In Jars” for inspiration and it was a strawberry chutney recipe that caught my eye. I followed it pretty closely apart from swapping out strawberries for blackberries and was very pleased with the results. We now make a big batch every year, inevitably giving some of it away to friends that rave about it. Over the years I have reduced the amount of star anise used from the original recipe, and find I need a longer cooking time to get the consistency I like but have otherwise been pretty faithful to it.
It is a delicious sweet and sour blend of fruit, vinegar and spices that goes well with cold meats but is particularly good with cheeses like mature cheddar or a strong blue.
4 pounds blackberries
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups golden raisins
1 lemon, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tbs salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 small pieces of star anise (broken from a whole star anise)
Place the blackberries in a large pot and lightly crush (I use a potato masher).
Reduce the heat to medium and cook until most of the juice has evaporated and the mixture has reduced to a thick and syrupy consistency. This can take 90-120 minutes. Stir regularly and keep an eye on it as it can easily stick to the pan if you neglect it and/or have the heat too high.
Pour the chutney into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.
Yield: 4 pint jars