Apples and Chutney

10 Sep

More on the glut of cooking apples and a recipe, well, sort of. One of the features of cooking apples is that they cook down to a pulp and can be used as a thickener in many recipies.

Chutney is a family of food condiments that we Brits brought back from India. Our versions are much more tame than some of the full-on Indian ones, like Chilli and Lime.

Apple and Tomato Chutney with Tamarind – makes six pounds

I used about four pounds of apples just under 2 Kg, peeled, cored and chopped. In my big preserving plan I brought half a pint of vinegar to the boil, then added the apples. The vinegar was spiced malt vinegar, which is very sour and acid. The spices I used were star anise, ginger and chilli. Don’t leave the star anise in at the end, but fish it out. I added two pounds of ripe tomatoes, a mixture of plum and salad varieties, roughly chopped, skins, seeds and all. There were a few raspberries and blackberries to be picked, so they went in as well. The other ingredient I used was tamarind pulp. Tamarind gives a sour, fruity taste to anything it is added to and deepens the flavours. The tamarind comes dried in a small block available from Asian food stores. I used about half a block, soaking it in warm water for about fifteen minutes. Put the softened fruit in a fine sieve and press with a spoon until the pulp comes through. Scrape this from the back of the sieve and put in the chutney. Throw away the skin and seeds from the sieve. You will need to add about 200 grams, six ounces of sugar, and a good teaspoon of salt. The other spices and herbs are optional. I used a half teaspoon of turmeric, two teaspoon of coriander and one of cumin, and half a dozen moderately hot pickled chillies, cut into chunks and a big sprig of rosemary, removed at the end. Feel free to make your own mixture up.

Cook the mixture on a low heat for about an hour and a half, stirring occasionally until thick and gloopy. Turn up the heat and boil down if too wet, stirring constantly. Heat up jars, minus lids, to 120C in the oven – put them in before turning the oven on and keep them in for five to ten minutes. Take the jars from the oven and place on a heatproof surface. Pour the chutney into the hot jars, just below the rim. Use a jug to do this and a jam funnel is also useful for neat filling. Put the tops on the jars. Clear away any mixture sticking to the thread of the jar. Using heatproof gloves, ensure the lid is tight, then invert to make a good seal. Put right way up and leave to cool. The lids will pop, becoming concave as the liquid and the air above cools. I still haven’t put the labels on, saying what it is and when it was made.

The chutney will improve with keeping but can be eaten right away. It is great with cold meat or a strong Cheddar cheese, and as a condiment in sandwiches.

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