How to make ‘Sweet Lark’ spiced apple chutney

September 29, 2011
Author: Hannah

logo of ear of wheatTo celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations to celebrate this special season. Today, a traditional recipe for spiced apple chutney which harks back generations in the South West.

This fiery autumn chutney goes well as a sweet pickle with meat or as a spicy accompaniment to cream.

A traditional West Country recipe, this harks back at least 100 years, when it was made with the Sweet Lark variety of apples. The family who were living a 1905 lifestyle in TV series Edwardian Farm even tried making it last autumn.

chutney in jars

We got the authentic recipe from a lady in West Cornwall, who tells us:

‘My mother used to make pickled Sweet Lark during the Second World War with apples from the local orchard. I remember putting cloves in them and using loaf sugar, and we’d store the chutney in earthenware jars.

‘We often ate it in the winter time, with scalded cream straight from the cow, and splits (a type of Cornish bread roll) and butter for Sunday.

‘Over time the flavour intensifies as the vinegar syrup penetrates the fruit and the apples turn a rich brown. It keeps very well too; I have some I made 10 years ago.’


  • Sweet Lark apples1.4kg (3lb) granulated sugar
  • 1.1 litres (2 pints) cider vinegar
  • 3.2kg (7lb) apples
    (go for Sweet Lark, Cornish Longstem or a similar sweet, small apple that’s no bigger than the size of a mandarin)


  1. Wash the apples in slightly warm water and dry them.
  2. Push two or three cloves into the side of each apple.
  3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar as you bring it to the boil.
  4. Put a few whole apples at a time into the vinegar syrup and boil for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to check if they’re cooked through to the core (the flesh should be soft, but the apples shouldn’t collapse too much).
  5. Place the apples in sterilised screw top storage jars and cover them with the vinegar syrup.

Serve as a sweet pickle with meat or as a spicy accompaniment to creamy puddings.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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3 responses to How to make ‘Sweet Lark’ spiced apple chutney

  1. a.parkinson says:

    went to the eden 2 weeks ago, first time iv’e been, what a place you have there, brill.i am suffering from cancer and there aint a lot to be done for me,.the eden project was one place i wanted to visit. thank you for all ytour help on my visit.

  2. Frederica Huxley says:

    Sounds delicious, but isn’t it technically an apple pickle, rather than a chutney? The apples are ‘pickled’ in the vinegar/sugar solution, instead of being chopped and cooked with such things as onions and raisins, as well as vinegar and sugar. Well, I know where there is a tree of sweet, small apples, just ready for scrumping…………

  3. Hannah says:

    Frederica, you are right that this is more of a pickle – we’ve amended it accordingly. Hope the scrumping goes well…

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