Sunday, 9 August 2020

Traditional Artisan Beaker Chutney Recipe

It's that time of year again, even in a year as weird as this. It's the warm weeks after Trinity. The cherry tomatoes are hanging red on the vine, the early apples have come in crops greater than anyone could feasibly eat. And people are asking me "do you have any traditional, folky recipes for this time of the year? The sort of chutney the Beaker Folk would have made, 3,000 years ago, while recovering from Summer Solstice and wondering what to eat with roast pork at the big YuleFest?

And I say of course. This is precisely the sort of summer-made chutney the Beaker Folk would make ready to eat with their annual hog roast. High in brown sugar, rich in tomatoes and robust enough in cider vinegar to make the journey from anywhere in Great Britain to Stonehenge, to add a bit of a kick to the midwinter revels.


  • 2 kg Discovery or Katja apples (or some other apples), red as a setting sun and sweet as lovers' first kisses
  • 1 kg tomatoes. Ripened on the vine in the Neolithic sun, washed by the soft rain of the early Bronze age, picked by Beaker maidens and crushed by hand. These aren't just any tomatoes. These are Beaker Folk tomatoes.
  • 350g (about 17 pebbles) of soft brown sugar, grown in the Amesbury sugar fields
  • 8 red chillis, ripened on the vine etc etc
  • Pinch of artisan salt, panned from the Doggerland seas. Or just table salt will do.
  • Minced garlic - about a teaspoon
  • 500ml (about 18 fl oz) of cider vinegar


  1. Prick the sun-ripened, rain-washed tomatoes individually and put in boiling water for two minutes. Ideally the water will have been boiled in authentic beakers on large stones removed from the camp fire. But failing that, just use a bowl and some hot water from the kettle.
  2. Remove the skins from the tomatoes, scalding your fingers, and reflecting you should have used a couple of forks or something.
  3. Add the sugar in the cider and stir till dissolved. Use hot rocks and beakers or a large saucepan according to availability.
  4. Chop the chillis and tomatoes. Peel, core and chop the apples.
  5. Add everything to the mix and boil for a couple of hours until it's starting to burn.
  6. Ladle into one small jar.
  7. Wonder what on earth happened to the concept of "conservation of mass".

Small half-filled salsa jar

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  1. Looks like a lovely recipe. I love the anachronistic list of ingredients!

  2. Looks like a lovely recipe. I love the anachronistic list of ingredients!

  3. What about mangos with or instead of apples?

  4. This reminds me that I must get out there and pick our Katja apples before the wind gets up again and they all fall off the trees. Plums and apples are competing for time this year.

  5. Do you have any recipes for my surplus of courgettes. Hhhmm-hhhmmm ... no, let's be honest: apprentice marrows?

  6. Commiserations Judy. In desperation I've rooted out my one 'courgette' plant; this village isn't big enough to consume all its produce. A carefully chosen courgette cake recipe wa the best answer, followed by chutney and then if you are fortunate enough to have small courgettes slice in half, cover with Parmesan and garlic and bake until the top is crisp.


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