The Traditional South African Way

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Fruit Chutney
Mango Atjar
Apricot Blatjang
Apricot Jam
Boeremeisies (Apricots in Brandy)
Fruit Rolls
Waatlemoenkonfyt (Watermelon Preserve)
Curried Beans 
Kumquat Preserve  
Quince Chutney  
Pumpkin Chutney   
Apple and Onion Chutney 
Brandied Peach Preserve
Beetroot Preserve
Kumquat Preserve
Lemon Preserve
Whole Naartjie (Tangerine) Preserve
Orange Preserve
**Mrs. H. S. Ball's Chutney**
Pickled Pears 
Canned Pears 
Pickled Chillies
Prickly Pear Preserve
No cooking mango chutney
Peach atjar NEW
Banana Curry Chutney NEW

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A traditional fruit preserve, in this instance, apricots.

unblemished, ripe apricots
1 kg salt dissolved in 8 litres water
750 g sugar per 500 g mebos

Soak the apricots overnight in salted water. Next day, drain the apricots and remove the skins. Leave the whole apricots in the sun for 12 hours, then gently force the stones out at the one end. If the apricots are small, press 2 - 3 together into a round, flat shape. Dry them out on racks for a few days. During the drying process, shape the mebos by hand (dip your hands into a mixture of 30 ml salt and 2 litres water). Weigh the mebos to determine how much sugar you will need. Pack alternative layers of the mebos and sugar neatly into small boxes. Close the boxes securely and store the mebos in a dark place. It will keep for several months..

Fruit Chutney

200 g dried pears, chopped
200 g dried apricots, chopped
200 g dates, chopped
200 g dried apple rings, chopped
200 g sultanas
1 litre water
500 ml cider vinegar
400 g brown sugar
2 ml chilli powder
2 ml turmeric
2 ml freshly grated nutmeg
2 ml ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

Place the fruit and water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and leave it overnight. Combine the undrained fruit mixture with the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then simer over low heat, uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours, or until thick, stirring occasionally. 
Pour into clean, warm jars and cool completely before sealing. Makes about 2 kilograms. Delicious with curry dishes.

Mango Atjar
Atjar was introduced to South Africa by the Malays about a century ago. It consists of a variety of vegetables and fruits, boiled and preserved in a very strong chilli pickle. It should be pleasantly sour with a sweetish aftertaste. We usually eat it as a relish with curry or meat dishes.

1.5 kg green mangoes, peeled, stoned and cut into 2cm chunks
500 ml white vinegar
250 g white sugar
200 g blanched almonds, chopped
2 onions, sliced
60 ml chopped root ginger
5 ml cayenne pepper
5 ml mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 peppercorns
5 ml salt

Boil all the ingredients till the mango chunks are tender, but still whole. Pour into clean hot jars and seal.

Apricot Blatjang

Blatjang is generally of smoother consistency than chutney and is quite often hotter. In fact, if you add a chopped red chilly it gets a potent bite!

2 kg ripe apricots
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
500g seedless raisins
400 g white sugar
1 ml cayenne pepper
5 ml salt
10 ml ground ginger
5 ml custard powder
500 ml brown vinegar

Halve and stone the apricots. Mix all the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer, uncovered. for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Pour into clean, warm jars and seal immediately.

Apricot Jam (Appelkoos Konfyt)
The Big Daddy of South African jams....

1 kg firm, ripe apricots, halved and stoned
75 ml water
750 g white sugar
15 ml liqueur or brandy

Place the apricots and the water in a large heavy-based saucepan and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Add the sugar and heat slowly, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Boil the mixture repidly until setting point is reached, and skim, if necessary, to remove foam from the surface. Cool the jam slightly, then stir in the liqueur. Pour the jam into hot, dry, sterilized jars, cover with melted wax and seal immediately.

Boeremeisies (Apricots in Brandy)

In days gone by, fruit was preserved in this where the phrase "the good old days" comes from??

500 g dried or fresh apricots
140 g white sugar
brandy to cover

Mix the apricots and sugar together and add sufficent brandy to cover. Pack into hot, dry, sterilized jars and leave to mature for at least 14 days before use. *hic*

Fruit Rolls

Very traditional and very easy to make...

Fresh apricots or peaches, stoned.
250 ml sugar per 250ml fruit

Mincs the fresh apricots or peaches, or process them very finely in a food processor. Measure the fruit to determine how much sugar you will need. Add the sugar to the fruit and mix. Grease wax paper or baking parchment with butter and spread the fruit mixture evenly over the paper. Leave the fruit to dry in the sun for about 12 hours. Loosen the fruit from the paper and discard the paper. Sprinkle fruit with sugar and roll up tightly. Store, wrapped in wax paper, in a cool , dark place. Will keep for several months.

Waatlemoenkonfyt - Watermelon Preserve

1 preserving or ordinary watermelon
25ml (2T) slaked lime or 50ml (4T) bicarbonate of soda
per 5 litres of water for 1 melon
1 kg sugar per 1 kg peel
2 litres water per 1 kg sugar
20ml (4t) lemon juice per 1 kg peel
pinch salt
2 pieces bruised fresh ginger per 1kg peel

Slice melon, discarding soft flesh. Thinly peel hard green rind and discard. Cut remaining peel into squares, prick well on both sides and weigh pieces.
Soak peel in lime solution for 2 days ( 12 to 18 hours for ordinary watermelon). Rinse peel well and soak in fresh water for 2 hours.
Drain and place pieces in boiling water, one piece at a time. Boil uncovered until just tender, test with a matchstick.
To make syrup, combine sugar, water, lemon juice, salt and ginger in a saucepan over low heat and bring to the boil as soon as sugar has dissolved.
Place the peel in boiling syrup and boil rapidly until pieces are tender and translucent and syrup is thick. 
Pack into hot, dry, sterilised jars, fill jars with syrup and seal immediately.

Curried beans

6 medium onions 
1 kg green beans 
20 ml mild curry powder 
5 ml finely ground black pepper 
10 ml salt 
5 ml turmeric 
10 whole cloves 
4 lemon leaves 
190 ml sugar 
250 ml white grape vinegar 
4 cloves garlic 
5 large tomatoes 
410 g peach slices 

Boil the onions and beans (cut into 2,5 cm pieces) in lightly salted water until done but still crisp. Drain.
Meanwhile heat the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer slowly.
Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Simmer until thick and done and spoon into sterilised glass jars. 
Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place.

Kumquat preserve

500 g kumquat 
500 ml sugar 
750 ml brandy 

Wash kumquats and pierce each fruit a few times with a sterilized needle, or make a slit crossways at the top of each fruit. Layer the fruit and sugar in a sterilized preserving jar. Pour in the brandy until the fruit is completely covered. Seal and store in a cool dark place. Invert the jar occasionally. The fruit will be ready to eat after four months.

Quince chutney

15 large quinces, skinned and cored 
250 g onions, finely chopped 
60 g garlic, finely chopped 
60 g fresh ginger, finely grated 
4 green peppers, seeded and finely chopped 
4 red peppers, seeded and finely chopped 
250 g dried peaches, finely chopped 
250 g dried apricots, finely chopped 
7 ml mustard powder 
50 ml salt 
1 l soft brown sugar 
2 l grape vinegar 

Chop the quinces finely and place them in a large saucepan (preferably stainless steel) with all the other ingredients. Heat slowly, ensuring the sugar has dissolved before the mixture comes to the boil. Simmer until the mixture thickens and is no longer watery. Stir every now and then to prevent the chutney from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal. Makes 3,5 litres. 

Pumpkin chutney

2 kg green apples, skinned and diced 
2 kg pumpkin, skinned and diced 
2 kg tomatoes 
180 g cloves garlic, crushed 
15 ml red chillies, seeded and finely chopped 
1 kg sugar 
10 ml salt 
5 ml ground cloves 
5 ml pepper 
5 ml ginger 
10 ml mustard powder 
5 ml ground cinnamon 
2 litres white grape vinegar 
250 g stoned dates, finely chopped 

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring continuously until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer until the mixture thickens and is no longer runny. Mash gently with a potato masher if the pumpkin and potato pieces are too big. 

Apple and onion chutney

2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced 
2 onions, diced 
1 medium green pepper, diced 
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
200 ml granulated sugar 
175 ml white vinegar 
120 ml water 
350 g stoned prunes, cut into quarters 
15 ml ginger 
30 ml mustard seeds 
10 ml tomato purée 
3 ml hot curry powder 

Sterilise four 250 ml glass jars and lids by placing them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Keep hot. In a large micro-safe bowl, place apples and next 6 ingredients. Cook covered, on HIGH, for 10 minutes, or until mixture boils. Uncover and stir. Cook on HIGH for 10 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir prunes, ginger, mustard seeds, tomato purée and curry powder into the chutney mixture. Cook on HIGH for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens and becomes slightly syrupy. Immediately ladle hot chutney into hot sterilised jars to within 5 mm of tops. Cover with lids. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 

Brandied peach preserve 
5 peaches, peeled, halved and stoned 
500 ml sugar 
500 ml water 
250 ml brandy (more or less) 

1. Prick peaches all over with a fine, sharp needle. 
2. Place sugar and water in a saucepan and allow sugar to dissolve. 
3. Place the peaches in the syrup and allow to simmer over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
4. Lift out carefully, pack into a wide mouthed jar and half fill with sugar syrup. Cool. 
5. Add brandy to cover peaches completely. Seal jar and store in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 months. 6. Serve with whipped cream or as an accompaniment to roast duck, ham, corned beef or even venison.

To prepare jars, wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse them out well and place in a warm oven that has been turned off. this allows them to dry and warm so that they do not crack when filled with hot preserve. To peel peaches pour boiling water over the peaches, leave to stand for 1 to 3 minutes. Skins will peel off easily. If the peaches are very ripe the skins may be rubbed off without using boiling water. Sprinkle peaches with lemon juice to prevent discolouration if you are not going to cook them immediately. 

Beetroot preserve 
300 g beetroot 
250 ml brown vinegar 
200 g white sugar 
1 ml salt 

Cut off the beetroot tops, wash the beetroot and place in a saucepan. 
Add water to cover. Boil the beetroot for about 30 minutes or until soft. 
Drain, reserving 250 ml of the liquid. Remove skin from the beetroots. Dice some beetroot, grate others and leave small ones whole. 
Heat the brown vinegar, white sugar, salt and beetroot liquid in a saucepan until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir continuously. 
Boil for five minutes. Add the beetroot to the syrup and bring to the boil. Layer the beetroot in a sterilised jar and screw on the lid immediately. Makes 500 ml beetroot preserve. Serves 4. 

 received the following comment from Glenn Read:

Try adding a bay leaf and two whole cloves to your beetroot preserve and replace 1/2 your vinegar with wine. I have found real grape vinegar to have a better preserving quality than spirit vinegar and of course a far better tase!

Kumquat preserve 
500 g kumquat 
500 ml sugar 
750 ml brandy 

Wash kumquats and pierce each fruit a few times with a sterilised needle, or make a slit crossways at the top of each fruit. Layer the fruit and sugar in a sterilised preserving jar. Pour in the brandy until the fruit is completely covered. Seal and store in a cool dark place. Invert the jar occasionally. The fruit will be ready to eat after four months.

This tangy kumquat preserve makes a super dessert, served with cream or ice cream. Or, as an after-dinner treat, drain the kumquats, dip half of each one into melted dark chocolate and serve with coffee. 

Lemon preserve 
1 kg medium-;sized, thin-;skinned lemons 
500 g coarse salt 
3 l water 
125 ml sunflower oil 

1. Scrub lemons well and cut into quarters without cutting through the stalk end, keeping it attached to the lemons. 
2. Dissolve half the salt in 1,5 litres water. Pour over the lemons and leave in a cool place for 4 days. Drain and rinse the lemons and pack into sterilised preserving jars, sprinkling each layer with paprika. 
3. Dissolve the remaining salt in 1,5 litres water and pour into the jars, to about 2 cm from the rim. Top up with oil, seal and leave for 6 to 8 weeks. 
4. When the lemons soften, simply rinse, scrape away the flesh and slice thinly. 
5. Serve as an accompaniment to casseroles or cold meats. The juice can be used instead of vinegar in a salad dressing or marinade.

This preserve is equally delicious when made with limes. 

Whole naartjie preserve 
3 kg naartjies (the smooth, tight-skinned variety) 
3 kg sugar 
3 l water 

1. Peel naartjies very thinly, taking care not to break skin. Make 5 incisions, equidistantly, in sides. 
2. Cover with cold water and soak for 3 days, replacing water on second day. 
3. Boil fruit in fresh water to cover until tender but not broken. 
4. Proceed as for orange preserves but, when thinning syrup after clarifying, add 1,5 litres (6 cups) extra water.   Makes 2 to 3 jars. 

Orange Preserve

1 kg ripe, firm oranges
boiling water

1.5 kg white sugar
2 litres water
20 ml lemon juice

Thinly grate the rind from the oranges and run the fruit with salt. Leave the oranges to stand for approx 30 minutes. Place the oranges in a basin and pour boiling water over them. Leave until the water has cooled then drain and rinse in cold water. Leave to soak overnight in fresh, cold water. Cut a deep narrow cross in the base of each orange and roll the orange gently between your hands to squeeze out the pips. Place the orange in enough boiling water to cover in a large heavy based saucepan and boil till the skin is soft (pierceable with a matchstick) Leave the oranges whole , otherwise halve or quarter them as desired. (I prefer halving)

T o make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the water in a heavy based saucepan over low heat. Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Add the fruit and boil till the oranges are translucent and the syrup is thick. Skim the foam off the surface if necessary. Pack oranges into hot, dry, sterilized jars, cover the oranges with syrup and seal immediately.

SARIE magazine did an investigation into the origin of the world famous Mrs H S Ball's chutney. Not only did they find descendants of Mrs Ball living in South Africa, but they obtained a copy of the original recipe as well. SARIE gave me permission to publish it on my site, a world first, I think! The recipe was tested by SARIE and the tasters state that it is even better than the original!

Mrs H S Ball's Chutney

Makes about 18 bottles (mild)

612 g dried peaches
238 g dried apricots
3 litres dark grape vinegar
2 1/2 kg white sugar
500 g onions
120 g salt
75 g cayenne pepper

To make chutney "hot", add 75 g minced hot peppers.
To make peach chutney, leave out the dried apricots and use 850 g dried peaches.

Soak the dried fruits overnight in the vinegar. Then boil in the same vinegar until soft, and drain. Mince in a food mill or chop up with a knife. Add the fruit, sugar (dissolved in a little of the same vinegar) and onions (minced) and boil in the vinegar in a large pot. The amount of vinegar will depend on the consistency. It should not be too runny or too thick, but like the product in the bottle. Do not boil to long, watch the consistency. Add the cayenne pepper and/or hot minced pepper, and boil 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Stir now and then with a wooden spoon to ensure it doesn't burn.


6 lb. (2.75 kg) prepared vegetables (cucumber, marrow, small onions, cauliflower, beans)
3 pints white vinegar
6 level teaspoons dry mustard
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
9 oz.(250 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 oz. ( 37.5 g) plain flour
4 level teaspoons turmeric

Clean and prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumber and marrow into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes; peel the onions, break the cauliflower into florets and cut the beans into 1 inch (2 cm) lengths. Immerse the vegetables in brine and leave overnight.
Spice the vinegar with mustard and ginger and add the sugar.
Rinse and drain the vegetables thoroughly. Put them in a pan, pour over the hot vinegar syrup and simmer for 20 minutes. Lift the vegetables out with a slotted spoon and pack into warm jars.

Mix the flour and turmeric to a smooth paste with a little vinegar. Stir this into the hot syrup. Boil for two minutes, then pour over the vegetables and seal

Pickled Pears

1.2 litres (2 quarts) pears
1 cup vinegar
1 pound (500g) sugar
1 cup water
4 pieces whole ginger
1/2 tablespoon cloves
a few sticks of cinnamon

Peel fruit and cut into pieces. Mix vinegar, water and sugar and place the spices in a small muslin sachet. Add to mixture and boil for 15 minutes.
Add fruit a few pieces at a time to the boiling mixture and boil till just starting to get soft. Remove spices.
Pack fruit in clean, dry, warm bottles adding a few cloves, fill completely with the syrup mixture and seal.

Canned Pears

Peel and cut pears in half and remove the pips with a teaspoon. To prevent coloring, place fruit in a mixture of 4 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons vinegar in 1 gallon (4.5 litres) water till all the fruit are ready.
Boil fruit in a syrup mixture of 1 part sugar to 2 parts water for 15 to 20 minutes till fruit beginning to soften, not oversoft.
Pack in sterilized bottles, fill with syrup and seal.

Pickled Chillies

600g medium green chillies
15 black peppercorns
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
5 teaspoons salt
6 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 litre white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

For this recipe you must buy perfect green chillies without any blemishes (you can use red chillies but they will be slightly hotter).
Carefully score from the stalk end to the tip on one side only and remove the seeds (use the handle of a teaspoon for this).
Pour boiling water over the chillies let them sit for 5 minutes then drain.
This will get rid of most of the seeds left behind.
Next put your black peppercorns bay leaves coriander chillies and salt into a large jar or other airtight container.
Put the sugar and the vinegar into a pan and heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.
When this is quite hot but not boiling pour it into the jar with the chillies. Allow it to cool down and then put the lid on put into the fridge and leave for a minimum of 2 weeks before using.
They will keep in the fridge for at least 4 months.

Prickly Pear Preserve

Prickly pears
Lime or bicarbonate soda
lemon juice

Wear gloves for protection ! Use prickly pears that are just ripe. Rub with a coarse cloth to remove the thorns and rinse well under running water.
Skin thinly ( removing only the the green skin ) and then weigh the fruit.
Prick the fruit with a hat pin or darning needle and leave overnight in a lime solution ( 25ml or 5tsp lime per 5 litres water ) or bicarbonate soda solution ( 45ml or 3 tbsp bicarbonate soda per 5 litre of water ).
Next day, rinse the fruit well and boil in fresh water until soft.

Prepare the syrup using :
375g Sugar,
570ml water,
and 1 tbsp lemon juice for every 500g of prickly pear.
Simmer the liquid until all the sugar is dissolved and then bring to the boil. Add the prickly pears one at a time so that the syrup does not stop boiling. Boil covered for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave the fruit in the syrup until the next day then lift it out. Strain the syrup through damp cheesecloth and bring to the boil again. Add the fruit and boil until clear and translucent.
Bottle and seal the preserve.
Delicious !


8 large, ripe mangos
1 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
1½ cups white vinegar
125g pitted, chopped dates or seedless raisins

1. Peel the mangos and cut into cubes
2. Put the mango cubes into a bowl and pour the salt over, allow to stand for 15 minutes
3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar
4. Add the chopped dates or raisins, mix well and bottle in sterilized bottles

Peach atjar

2 kg yellow cling peaches, stoned, peeled and sliced
4 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
250 g sultanas
300 g white sugar
200 ml grape vinegar
10 ml turmeric
2 ml cayenne pepper
25 ml curry powder
20 ml mixed spice
pinch ground cloves
10 ml salt

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. Stir frequently. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is no longer watery when a little is spooned onto a plate and cooled. Bottle in sterilised jars while hot. Makes 1,5 litres atjar.

Banana Curry Chutney

28 ounces bananas (mass after peeled) sliced
2 green peppers finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
8 ounces sultanas
2 teaspoons salt
A dash of pepper
2 teaspoons medium curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon thyme
pinch of ground cloves
1 ½ pints white vinegar
2 cups sugar

Mix all the ingredients on a saucepan and simmer for 1 hour. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Bottle boiling hot in sterilized jars. Cool off. Remove lids and cover wax. Screw the lids back on again. Store in a dark cool place. Enjoy.


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