Crab Apple Chutney Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, August 15, 1912:  My store of thoughts doesn’t amount to very much today.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What did Grandma (and the other members of her family do) on days when she couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to record?

Might they have canned food to eat during the upcoming winter months?

Earlier this week I made Crab Apple Chutney using an old recipe that I imagine was similar to recipes used a hundred years ago.

Crab Apple Chutney

3 pounds crab apples

1 orange

1 box (15 oz.) raisins

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly pressed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Core and dice crab apples. Peel and dice orange.

Combine all ingredients in large pan. Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered until the crab apples are tender (about 30 minutes).

Immediately ladle the hot mixture into 4 pint jars (or 8 half-pint jelly jars); cover with syrup, filling to within 1/4 inch of jar top. Wipe jar rim, and put lids on. .

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This recipe is excellent—and I make it whenever I have crab apples. The chutney really brings out the taste of pork or beef.

If you are looking for crab apple recipes, check out a post I did last year:

Old Spiced Crab Apples (Pickled Crab Apples) Recipe

31 thoughts on “Crab Apple Chutney Recipe

  1. Isn’t it ironic how she felt like she had nothing to write about, yet here we are 100 yrs later just curious to know what she did today and how interesting it is to hear about her life and what it was like. Blessings ~ Patty

    1. I’d never thought about it quite that way before–but it is really amazing that we are curious about her life, even though she felt like nothing interesting had happened.

  2. I finally got down through my e-mail and find this post from yesterday…and glad I did. What a wonderful recipe. We don’t have any crab-apples… and I’m wondering what I could put in their place. I wonder if I used a nice tart Granny Smith apple it might turn out almost as good.

    Sometimes when things get very hectic I find that just trying to keep up with everything is mind-numbing. It sounds as if she’s been pretty busy with a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t very exciting… I’m so glad you live so close to where she spent her life and have access to so much history as to be able to fill in that her day could have been like… and to top it off with such delicious recipes too! Many thanks.

    1. I’ve also thought about trying regular apples with this recipe, but haven’t tried it yet. It’s a lot of work to core and dice lots and lots of little crab apples for this recipe. I think that it would be a lot easier if I started with a larger apple–but the taste and texture might be somewhat different.

  3. Thanks for the recipe! I have a big box of crab apples sitting on my table. will make pickled crab apples as well as sauce and this chutney recipe. I love canning produce right from the trees.

    1. We have friends with a large crab apple tree and they give us a large grocery bag of crab apples each year. I enjoy making these recipes. It is fun to can produce right from the trees!

  4. Dear Sheryl,
    Very interesting to read about life 100 years ago. Thank you for posting about that and the crab apple chutney.

  5. Hi
    This is the first time I will be using our crab apples and I want to try out your chutney recipe. Just need to know what you do with the orange? Thanks for sharing

    1. It should keep for a year. Whenever I’ve made this recipe, I’ve always used all of the chutney by May or June — and the last jar was just as good as the first. I’m sure that it would last longer than what I’ve kept it.

    1. All of the ingredients are combined in a large pan. When heated the spices, vinegar, brown sugar, and the juices that emerges from the cooking fruits combine to create the “syrup.”

  6. Can you pleas confirm to me what processing in a water bath means/does for the chutney as it’s warm when put into the jars. I’ve only ever made chutney once before so at a bit of a loss here!

    1. Water bath canning is when you put the canning jars and their contents into a large pan called a canner that contains boiling water. The water covers the jars and they are processed to kill bacteria and seal the jars. One place you can find directions for water bath canning is on the Simply Canning website.

  7. Do you peel the crab apples beforehand? I was just wondering if the peelings affect the texture of the chutney. Thanks!

  8. hi sheryl just made your chutney and it tastes lovely my husband wants to know how soon he can eat it ,xx

  9. We love this recipe so much that we go foraging for crab apples around the city to make it 🙂 Thanks making it publicly available!

  10. Do I have to do the boiling in water bath part? I haven’t done this with previous chutney I have made and it has kept ok. When I preserve fruit, eg nectarines, I put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Would this work with the chutney?

    1. Home economists and extension websites today generally call for processing foods to ensure safety – though historically that was not always done.

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