Make Ahead

Lemon Chutney

January  5, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Makes 5 medium size jars
Author Notes

One of the things I enjoy the most while travelling, is going to small bookstores. In NYC, we visited a couple of them and I brought back a handful of books that I devoured since returning.

Two of them were Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and More Home Cooking: A Writer returns to the Kitchen. They are a compillation of short stories Colwin wrote for Gourmet magazine for several years. They are short and delightful stories, always revolving around the kitchen and the love of feeding people. Every story includes a recipe and most of them are straightforward and good.

Ever since reading the chapter on Lemon Chutney, I’ve been meaning to try it, and when thinking of Christmas gifts, I knew it was the perfect time to go for it – also, it was just another excuse to use one of my favourite ingredients: lemons.

According to Laurie Colwin, this chutney improves with time, and is especially good after six months. So, let’s wait and see.


What You'll Need
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne peper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon
  • 8 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  1. Remove the zest from 8 lemons with a vegetable peeler, being careful to not include the pith (white part). Cut away the pith and discard. Chop the zest and the flesh fine with a good sharp knife. Transfer into a glass or earthenware bowl, mix with 2 tablespoons salt, and let sit overnight.
  2. On the next day, transfer the lemons to the pan and add all the other ingredients. Stir and cook gently over medium heat till it becomes thick (up to 45 minutes), dark brown and gooey. You will fill 4 to 5 medium size jars

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • mnr_t
  • AntoniaJames
  • Nancy

5 Reviews

Bevi August 31, 2023
The most umami recipe I know of. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty - and a little heat. I make Laurie's chutney this time of year and also in January when I can get my hands on Meyer Lemons. Make sure you store for 6 months before using - the difference in flavor is notable!
AntoniaJames August 31, 2023
Great idea, to make it now! So glad I saw this comment in my friends' feed. I'll be making this soon. Thank you for the tips, Bevi. ;o)
Nancy December 15, 2015
Made this often and liked it. Yes it improves with age. And Yes, agree with Mandy James ---make it with the original coriander seeds (1 tsp for 2 1/2 lb lemon or the 8 lemons suggested here) and the original currants (raisins ok as a replacement for them).
Mandy J. January 13, 2013
The original recipe calls for Coriander seeds, slightly crushed... I think it was about a teaspoonful. These are crucial to the recipe and I would hate to see anyone miss out on this ingredient as it harmonizes with lemon so well.. Also, the original recipe did not include cinnamon. Laurie Colwins recipe is perfection... The swap of cinnamon for corriander seeds in not necessary nor desirable.
mnr_t December 24, 2012
This is one of my very favorite recipes, infinitely variable and ALWAYS good. Laurie Colwin also one my fave food writers. Hope you enjoyed it!