The last few weeks have found me at my parents house, plunged into the life of a full time carer. It’s in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and countryside so it could be worse and a beautiful garden in the throws of the last of the summer. My mum has always prided herself on her garden and her green fingers have provided fresh food for our family since I can remember. Being sent to the vegetable patch to get the veg for dinner, hours podding peas, toping and tailing gooseberries and blackcurrants. Then the preserving the jamming and pickling and later the freezing. So it just so happens that I have arrived at the time of a storm and therefore a glut of Tomatoes, Apples, Damsons.
I am interested in learning how to preserve things. If you are growing your own food it makes sense to be able to save your produce to last you longer. Basic stuff for thousands of years in different ways around the world and no better teacher than my mum. For years her Jams have graced our tables in fact if she had been a member of the WI she would have been a contender for many a prize.
The tomatoes came first through the door as the weight of the fruit and the winds of the storm had folded the plants to the ground. My mum made it sound so simple and there was no reason to doubt her.
Lots of green and red tomatoes of every size
1 red chilli
Red wine vinegar
My way ….
I placed the washed tomatoes in to a saucepan I guess there was about 1.500kg and then chopped 4 medium red onion, finely chopped garlic, ginger grated, and a deseeded red chilli, a sprinkle of turmeric chucked in with red wine vinegar (I did this by eye enough for it to simmer). Then I added the sugar along the way. Tasting it and adding as needed. I left it simmer for about an hour after everything had been put in the pot. Simple init?
Whilst that was bubbling away I brought some water to the boil and dropped in some jam-jars in to sterilise them ready to fill.
After an hour with occasional stirring the contents of the pot had broken down to a gorgeous looking smooth chutney. The smell was just delicious all the way through the process from the boiling vinegar smell to the rich tangy smell of fruits and onions.
I bottled them up and got 3 jars in all and some left overs. So now the proof is in the tasting and it was a bit of a ceremony. Crackers, Butter, Cheese and Pickle. I can’t tell you how nice it was, maybe a little too sweet for me but all together a winner.
So with a bit by eye and a bit by taste and a bit of knowledge I made my first Chutney. I think it is gorgeous but of course I would say that. I’m no expert but one thing is for sure it was easy just like my mum said
The Hampstead Mum