raspberryfool: (Raspberryfool)
Green tomato and apple chutney is very different from the plum chutney I made earlier in the year. Because it uses more vinegar and different materials, it doesn't requre 50% sugar like the plum, which turned out more like a savoury jam. I've adapted a recipe from the 1950's 'Good Housekeeping' book that lives downstairs, adding extra sugar to make thickening easier. Reducing the liquid takes about two hours. If you grow the ingrediets yourself, or can buy them cheap (I used spring onions bought from tesco at 7p a bunch!), it works out virtually free. It's also a great way to use up the remaining green tomtoes that stubbornly refuse to ripen at the end of the season.

Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

2 1/2 lb home-grown green tomatoes
2 lb white sugar
1 lb cooking apples
1 pint malt vinegar
8 oz chopped onions or shallots
6 oz home-grown green peppers
1 oz chopped garlic
1 home-grown medium-strength red chilli
Salt and mixed spices to taste.

Wash and chop the ingredients (except the sugar, spices and vinegar) and place into a large saucepan or jam kettle. Pour in the vinegar, add the spices and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour or until the tomatoes are cooked and the apple pieces begin to disintegrate, then add the sugar slowly and stir until dissolved then simmer whilst stirring periodically to prevent burning. When the liquid has reduced by half, place a little on a saucer or plate and allow it to cool. Once the cooled mixture cannot be poured from the saucer, reduce the heat and place six clean 1 lb jars into a hot oven until they cannot be comfortably handled with bare hands. Turn off the heat under the chutney, cool until the jars are ready, then stir the mixture and pour carefully into the jars and place the lids on to vacuum-seal. Great with cheese on toast.

EditI originally gave the quantity of green tomatoes as 4 1/2 lb, which is what I actually picked; with stems removed and some set aside to ripen, 2 1/2 lb were chutnified. Sorry for any confusion.
raspberryfool: (Default)
The strawberry season is well underway, and I've been picking lots of lovely, juicy berries which are about the only crop in the garden that require no maintainence except weeding and feeding. They make great 'give-aways' - I gave some to a workmate as a thanks for driving me home - and I doubt anyone would turn them down! I can't eat them all, and with one less to feed this year, they've started to accumulate in the 'fridge. That means it's jam time again!

It's easy and fairly cheap if you've grown the fruit yourself. Fresh jam is much nicer that commercially-made product and will keep forever because of the high sugar content; i have jam in the larder dating back to 2002. Supermarket jams go mouldy because they're full of pectin and other crap. Here's the recipe I'll be using today - you can scale it to any quantitiy using equal quantities of fruit and sugar :

1 3/4 lb strawberries
4 oz rhubarb (this gives the acid 'bite' that strawberries lack - use lemons if you prefer.)
2 lb sugar

Caution: Be very careful with hot jam; once the sugar is added, it will boil at 212 degrees C. Take care not to splash it onto skin or into eyes, and make sure to use hot jars to avoid sending boiling jam and glass all over the kitchen!

De-stalk the strawberries and remove any mouldy or damaged fruit. Peel the rhubarb, wash all fruit and drain. Place the fruit into a large saucepan, ensuring extra capacity to accommodate the sugar. Allow a little water to cover the bottom of the pan to aviod burning the fruit. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly and simmer until the fruit is cooked.

Then gradually add the sugar, stirring it in slowly until dissolved. Increase the heat slowly until the mixture is boiling. It is important to stir regularly, otherwise the jam will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Simmer the jam to maintain a 'rolling boil', and after around twenty to thirty minutes, remove a sample of jam onto a saucer. Allow this to cool and check for a set by turning it upside down; if the jam drops off, it isn't ready.

When you have a 'set', place your jars in an oven on a low heat; this will both sterilise them and ensure that they don't burst when you pour in the boiling jam. Turn off the heat under the jam; this will help prevent the jam splattering when you pour it. Pour the jam into the hot jars, then either close the lids for a vacuum seal or allow to cool then close the lids and store.