Sunday, 4 September 2011

Plum and Red Onion Chutney

It takes patience and time to prepare all the ingredients. One washes, and chops the ingredients, all by hand, but then in the pan the eye is drawn to the odd larger piece, and out come the scissors to cut it ......pieces need to be no larger than you want them in the finished article!

It takes time for the mixture to cook through and surplus moisture to evaporate, and this one took four hours from beginning to end. Every few minutes, the bottom of the pan needs to be stirred to prevent sticking, and finally there is the filling of the hot jars. Afterwards the chutney needs to be 'laid down' in a cool dark place, for at least six weeks, six months is better. I once found a chutney over two years old, and it was fabulous.

Last night we had some excellent locally made sausages braised with onions, and served with mash, and purple french beans, which turn green from the garden. Even though the serving in the ramekin had only matured for a day, it was excellent with the meal. At lunch time we had some with homemade chicken liver pate, toast and salad and it went very well with that too.

This batch contains Marjorie Seedling Plums, Bramley apples, all grown without fungicides and pesticides, red onions, organically grown raisins, fresh ginger, mustard seeds, ground black pepper, white sugar and dark muscavado sugar half and half, and cider vinegar, and just 1 teaspoon of sea salt.

The yield was 11 jars, the jar sizes are 12 oz size, a small sample jar, and a couple of spoonfuls which went into a small ramekin. I think that this size jar is about right.

I spent an hour up a long ladder picking plums, both for myself and the tree owner. The tree is tall and old, and looks towards Kenilworth Castle, the apple tree was much smaller and had started to shed some of its load and I found lovely large fruit, unbruised nestling in the long grass. My basket was my 'payment' for helping to harvest his tree!

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