Monday, 19 September 2011

Preserves part1

Having the same problem as Jamie - Sorta. My three year old apple tree hasn't borne any fruit yet, but neighbours trees have.

I think Yorkshire generosity works in strange ways. We like a deal, and we hate waste, but give freely. The end result is I've been given loads of apples, on the condition Bear bakes a big apple pie or two, or I make some chutney. I'm cool with that. Then the 'middle man' who gets the fruit for me wants his pies and chutney too :) That's fine too.

But on the other hand, he tells me, the neighbours are grumbling their so overburdened with fruit on their bushes and trees they don't know what to do with it. But they don't want to give it away because they're worried about being taken advantage of.


So I've said, look. Don't let it go to waste. The Americans have this thing called 'yard sales'. It's an excellent concept. Just let friends know that your selling fruit off, at the same as/or less than supermarket prices, put it in boxes, weigh it out in pounds or kilos, and stand outside your house and sell it.

More, you can turn it into jams, jellies, and chutneys and make a nice profit. Of course, you need to spend money on vinegar, sugar, raisins and spices. But if people like it, you can cost it up, add 20% profit, and provide people with something local that'll be very nice for Christmas

I'm, at heart, a freegan, a forager. I like to know where our food comes from, and since it's a big part of the budget, it's a cheap or free. So make chutney!


A good chutney can last 3 years. Surprisingly long isn't it?

So you have veg and or fruit that getting a bit past it's use by date. Those carrots that are getting a bit soft, the cauliflower that looks a bit yellow? Bruised and soft apples or pears?

The Basics of a good chutney. Use:-

A third by proportion to the fruit you have of onions.
A third by proportion to the fruit you have of dates or raisens/mixed fruit or a combination therof
A half of the weight of the fruit in sugar.
A third by volume of a vinegar to the fruit. It's easier if you think in ml and grams.
So if you have 300 grams of fruit and/or veg, use 100 ml of any vinegar - preferably at least 5% vinegar (it'll tell you on the botttle or jar) It can be red or white wine vinegar, malt or cider, or good old chip shop as long as it's 5% or greater.
Spices, salt and pepper to taste, but generally half a teaspoon to each 1.5kilo/3lb 5oz of fruit or veg

Try turmeric, mustard seed or powder or from a jar , chillies or chilli powder, chopped garlic and mixed spice. Experiment! Note :- Mustard when heated mellows considerably.


Chuck it into a pan, and cook until you can draw a line across the surface or the bottom of the pan until the fluid only fills the gap very slowly. About and hour and a half.

Avoid Brass or Aluminium pans. The acids will 'pull' a metallic taste into the chutney.


Jars should be sterilised in a preheated oven for half an hour at Gas Mark 1, about 125 C, or straight from the dishwasher. Top them up to the very top, and put vinegar proof lids on. I make my own greaseproof caps, and screw a sterilized lid on.

This kind of chutney should be left in a cool dark cupboard or fridge for three months for maximum flavour. In other words - make it now for Christmas.

For presents or personal use, a Kilner jar is excellent, but if it's for resale, the expense isn't justified.

Catchya :)

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