My easy blackberry chutney recipe is sweet, tangy and just as delicious served with roasted meats as it is as a traditional accompaniment to cheese. Totally flexible, this recipe works just as well with store-bought or frozen berries as it does with foraged wild brambles.
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There are a lot of recipes for ways to use blackberries out there. But I wanted to try something a little different and decided on seeing if they would made a great chutney. Oh and boy do they. With a little apple for body, onion for a savoury hit, sugar for sweetness and vinegar for a little tang, the flavour really packs a punch without the need for making a highly spiced version.
I’ve been using it for all sorts including as a filling for sausage rolls. My dad just declared those sausage rolls as “the best sausage rolls I’ve ever had”. So I’m taking that as a win. I can’t stop eating it too – I’ve gone into more details of some of those ways below.
I’m actually quite new to chutney making but its ridiculously easy once you have a great balanced recipe. The first variety that I published was my Fresh Fig Chutney with Orange which remains a delicious option.
To make these kinds of slightly chunky sweet and savoury chutneys, most of the work is in the chopping. I like to make sure I take a little time to cut the ingredients like the apple and onion quite small and evenly. Once that’s done, it is simply a case of throwing everything in a pan and letting it cook down.
In the case of this bramble chutney, I wanted to make sure a little more texture of the berries was retained so I actually add half of the berries half way through the cooking time. But this isn’t an onerous task.
- How to Serve Blackberry Chutney
- Ingredients for Simple Blackberry Chutney
- Equipment Notes for Easy Blackberry Chutney
- Get Ahead
- How to Sterilise Jars and Preserve/Can Chutney
- Leftover Blackberry Chutney
- Chutney Making Tips
- Keep Up to Date
- Full Step-By-Step Recipe
How to Serve Blackberry Chutney
One of the most common ways that we serve chutney here in the UK is on a ploughman’s style platter. In the images here, I’ve served it with some creamy brie, roasted glazed ham, freshly baked chilli & oregano soda bread, salad and fresh figs and blackberries. I ate everything on that plate and it was gorgeous.
I also mentioned that I used chutney in one of my sausage rolls. And I added cheese too – this recipe will be coming soon.
I more often than not serve a redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce with roast pork dinners but blackberry chutney is now my new go-to. I can’t recommend trying this enough,
As for how to physically serve chutney, I like to make sure it is room temperature (unless I’m baking with it). This allows the flavours to stop being muted which it what happens when it is eaten cold.
Ingredients for Simple Blackberry Chutney
You might notice that I’ve mentioned both blackberries and brambles when talking about this recipe. That’s because they’re effectively the same thing – bramble is simply the name given to wild growing blackberries.
Brambles can quite often grow a little smaller and have a few more seeds that cultivated/farmed blackberries. You can use either for making this recipe.
Frozen berries are also great to use.
Use whatever white/brown or red/purple onions you have on hand, either will provide the desired savoury note.
Again you can use whatever type of apple you have on hand. Cooking apples like bramley apples or any eating apple will work in this recipe – it is pretty flexible.
You do not need to peel the apples but you will need to put out the core and seeds.
I chose red wine vinegar as my vinegar of choice for this recipe, The rich flavour complements the blackberries perfectly. I chose not to use balsamic as I thought it might overpower the berry flavour. You could try this as an alternative for a deeper richer chutney.
You could also use a white wine, cyder or rice vinegar. Please avoid malt vinegar – that isn’t so appropriate for chutney making.
Again for reasons of complementing rather than overpowering, I’ve chosen light brown sugar for this chutney. You could choose something lighter instead but I avoided muscovado sugar to not overpower.
You can use any dark berry or variety in this recipe – anything from blackcurrants, black cherries, boysenberries or black mulberries, A forest fruits type mix would work well. I haven’t yet tried a blueberry version but I think that would likely work well too.
To make things really easy, try one of these variations that I’ve tested and written up:
Most the main ingredients can be varied somewhat and I’ve noted most of these above in the ingredients section. So lets discuss what you could add.
I like to think about alcohol options – something rich like whisky, bourbon or brandy would add a nice punch. I would be careful to not add too much of a spirit or you will make a cocktail and not a chutney. Port or red wine would add richness. If adding a liquid, simply replace some of the water with the booze.
Lemon zest would be a nice addition as would a little spice. Fresh chilli or chilli flakes would add a nice hit of warmth. Ground black pepper would intensify the savoury notes of the chutney.
Adding warming winter spiced is also quite common in chutneys – looks for a ready made mix like mixed spice (UK) or even pumpkin or apple pie spice in the US – they are very similar to British mixed spice. Go easy on the spicing, you wouldn’t want to overpower the blackberry flavour.
Vegetarian or Vegan Chutney
This blackberry chutney is both vegetarian and vegan friendly as written.
Is Chutney Allergy Friendly?
This recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Easy Blackberry Chutney
Unlike with jam, you don’t need to use an extra large pan to make chutney. As long as the ingredients fit in and there is room to stir without chutney spilling everywhere, a regular saucepan is big enough.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
It is essential to get ahead when making chutney – it needs some time to mature so that the flavours meld and the vinegar flavour mellows. I recommend waiting at least 3 days but if you can wait up to a month, you won’t regret it.
If you are going to properly can and seal the jars, you can make chutney many months in advance. This is ideal for gifting etc.
If you do want to make the jars shelf stable, you will need to sterilise your jars and follow procedures to make sure they are sealed properly.
It will keep for years sealed and many months in the fridge once the jar is opened. You must be careful to ensure that you don’t cross contaminate however – a bit of rogue butter on a knife or a crumb of cheese can make a preserve spoil much earlier than it should.
How to Sterilise Jars and Preserve/Can Chutney
There is a whole world of variations and advice for how you should prepare your jars and deal with the jars once they’re sealed. They vary from person to person and country to country.
There are a lot of strong feelings about this in the “canning community” (yes there is one) which I have no interest in being drawn into. All I know is that UK cooks have been making jams, chutneys and preserves for a very long time without any issues. Therefore I am more than happy to follow the UK process for my jams.
Jar Sterilisation Options
There are several ways that you can sterilise your jam jars.
- Run the jars and lids through a hot wash in the dishwasher.
- Bake the jars and lids in the oven on a baking tray.
- Microwave the jars and boil the lids in water.
- Boil the jars and lids in water.
Whichever method you choose the only important thing is to make sure that the jars and lids are left to dry without being touched. And that you do not under any circumstances touch the inside of the jars or lids as this can contaminate them and undo your sterilisation. Tongs are your friend.
For the record, I usually use the dishwasher method.
How to Tell if the Jar is Sealed
It is essential to add the lid to the hot jars filled with the hot chutney straight away. As the jar and contents cool, a vacuum is created in the jar and the lid will be pulled downwards. To help this, I often turn my jars upside down to cool.
This means that when you press the lid, it doesn’t move or pop. When you open a jar of properly sealed chutney, the lid will then pop. And an opened or not properly sealed jar will pop when you press it.
If your jars don’t seal properly, you can either keep the jar in the fridge and eat it relatively quickly or go though a canning process to seal them. The choice is yours.
Chutney Making Tips
You don’t need to stand and stir the chutney the whole time it is cooking. But it is important to make sure it is given a stir as everything is melting together. And then I tend to hover a little more towards the end of cooking as it is starting to thicken up.
The actually cooking time will vary depending on the quantity you make and the size pan you use. A pan where there is less visible surface area will take longer to evaporate some of the liquid. A wider pan like the one I used will be quicker.
The trick is to make sure that the chutney cooks for at least half an hour. This gives the onion and apple enough chance to soften. If it is still quite thin after this time, then you can turn up the heat to boil off the liquids faster.
I cut the onion and apple very fine in this recipe because whilst they do provide bulk and body to the chutney, I don’t like large visible chunks. They also cook down faster. The hero of this chutney is the blackberry.
You can add all the berries at the beginning of the cooking time if you prefer.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Simple Blackberry Chutney Recipe
- 90 g Onion
- 150 g Apple
- 180 ml Red Wine Vinegar
- 120 g Light Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 500 g Blackberries - divided in half
- 300 ml Water - divided in half
- Finely chop roughly 90g Onion.
- Finely chop 150g Apple – do not include the core but there is no need to peel.
- Add the chopped onion and apple to a saucepan along with 180ml Red Wine Vinegar, 150g Light Brown Sugar, ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes, 250g Blackberries and 150ml Water.
- Place on a medium high heat and keep stirring until the mixture starts to boil.Turn the heat down so it is just simmering and cook for around 15 minutes. Give it a stir every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure nothing is sticking. It is a good idea to keep a closer eye on it the thicker it gets.
- Add the remaining 250g Blackberries and 150ml Water to the pan.
- Stir in and leave to simmer for a further 15 minutes. You will need to stir more regularly towards the end of the cooking time to ensure that nothing is catching on the bottom of the pan.
- The chutney is ready once you can drag your spatula through and the gap doesn’t immediately fill with liquid. If you need to, you can turn the heat up a little and continue to cook any excess liquid away until it is done.
- Carefully spoon the hot chutney into jars or your preferred container.
- Ideally allow a minimum of 3 days to help the flavours develop before tucking in.