jams and chutneys

I’ve been meaning to post this for ages and just never got round to it. It’s quite a busy period now. Everything in the garden is ready at once. In between making endless rounds of tomato sauces, cooking up peelings from various festa’s for the pigs, I’ve been making loads of jams and chutneys. I wanted to share the recipes with you, so here they are. Let me know how you get on, aubergine chutney to come.

Spicy Peach chutney

1.75kg (4 lb) sliced peeled peaches
175g (6 oz) sultanas
2 cloves garlic, minced
75g (3 oz) chopped onion
150g (5oz) chopped preserved ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon curry powder
900g (2 lb) dark brown soft sugar
1L (1 3/4 pints) cider vinegar
4 tablespoons pickling spice

In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, sultanas, garlic, onion, preserved ginger, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Wrap the pickling spice in a spice bag or muslin and place in the pot.
Bring to the boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
Remove the spice bag, and ladle into hot sterilised jars. Wipe the rims with a clean moist cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and process in a barely simmering water bath for 10 minutes. The water should cover the jars completely.

Peach Jam

2.5kg/5lb just-ripe peaches
The juice and zest of 3 lemons
1/2tsp salt
11/2kg/3lb caster sugar
3 vanilla beans

Wash and cut the peaches, then crack the stones of two and take out the kernels in the middle. Lightly crush the kernels to release their nutty flavour and set aside.
Place the chopped peach and the lemon juice into a saucepan. Add the salt – this will bring out the flavour of the fruit – and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Add the sugar, stirring to combine.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Once you think it might be ready, do the “wrinkle test”. Place a spoonful of jam on a saucer in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Run a finger through the jam: if the surface wrinkles, it’s ready. If not, return to the stove and boil swiftly.
Add the cracked kernels and allow the jam to rest for 20 minutes for even fruit and juice distribution. Spoon into warm, sterilised jars.

Fig Marmalade, or Marmellata di Fichi:

2 1/4 pounds (1 k) figs
1 1/8 pounds (500 g, or 2 1/8 cups) sugar
The grated zest of an organically grown lemon
3 tablespoons whisky or brandy (optional)

Wash the figs, break them open (be on the lookout for bugs), and combine them with the sugar in a bowl. Cover them and let them rest overnight. The next morning transfer them to a pot and heat them over a moderate flame, stirring lest they scorch, until they come to a boil. Add the lemon zest, reduce the heat, and simmer, skimming away the foam occasionally, until a drop on an inclined plate doesn’t run. Transfer the marmalade to sterile jars, seal them, sterilize them, and when they have cooled transfer them to your pantry.
Note: As a variation, stir 3 tablespoons of whiskey or brandy in with the lemon zest.

Chilli Jam

For about 6 jars:
500g very ripe tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 large chillies (seeds left in if you want your jam hot)
6-7cm of ginger root, sliced
300g caster sugar
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
100ml red wine vinegar

Blitz half the tomatoes with all the garlic, chillies and ginger in a food processor. Pour into a heavy bottomed pan, add the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar and bring to the boil, stir slowly and reduce to a simmer. Dice the remaining tomatoes finely and add them to the pan. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture will turn slightly darker and stick. Store in warm sterilised jars and seal while mixture is still warm. The longer you keep the jam the hotter it gets.

Beetroot Relish

1kg Beetroot
500g onions
750g cooking apples (peeled and cored)
500g raisins
3 tablespoons ground ginger
1kg granulated sugar
1 litre malt vinegar (actually I used all sorts of old vinegars as I had no malt and a friend also told me that if you use malt vinegar things take longer to “be ready”)

Peel beetroot and grate, dice onions and cooking apples. Combine all the ingredients in saucepan, stir the mixture and heat gently until sugar is dissolved then raise temperature until boiling. Continue gently boiling with occasional stirring until mixture is thick. (approx. 2 hours) To test when ready create a trench in the surface of boiling mixture with the back of a spoon. When the trench does not immediately fill with liquid, the chutney is ready. pot into sterilsed, hot jars and seal.

go forth followers and make

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