Welcome to the October 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Meals that Keep.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they preserve food to reduce waste and stock their kitchens! Check out all of the posts to get recipes ideas and learn more about putting up food for your family.
We eat seasonally and as locally as possible, we love the changes of vegetables and fruit this gives us that as we come towards the end of a season we can look forward to the vegetables from the next one. Our local food comes from a variety of sources and this autumn we have been using many, we have some we have grown, some from a local veg bag scheme, some we have been given and some we have foraged from hedgerows and trees. What we also have is a glut, an abundance of produce that we could not eat before it perished so we have turned our hand to preserving some of it to last us through the coming year. We have tried old and tested methods and new ones.
We are lucky to have the space to own a chest freezer, it sits in our garage and at this time of year is often quite full. I am not very good at methodical storing in there so it is often in a mess, I know what is in there just can't always find it easily! This year we have frozen fruit, we do so by spreading it out on a tray and placing in the freezer before bagging up and labelling, we do this in one pound quantities. The exception to this is apples which I core, peel and slice thinly place in a bag and freeze. This fruit usually ends up in puddings over the course of the year our favourite being crumble, I can empty the bag straight into the dish for defrosting cover with the topping (4oz flour, 2oz of butter rubbed in and 2oz of Demerara sugar for crunch). I sometimes use the fruit in flapjacks, stirring it in to the mix from frozen. This year we have frozen, black and white currants, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries and apple in total over 20lbs of fruit.
Green Tomato Chutney
750g green tomatoes chopped
500g shallots or onions peeled chopped
200g cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
small piece of ginger peeled
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 dried chilli
1 tsp salt
200g brown sugar
Put tomatoes, onions and apples in a pan with half the vinegar, bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes until tender.
Put chilli, ginger and mustards seeds in a muslin bag and tie, bruise with a rolling pin and add to pan with raisins.
Cook on a low heat stirring from time to time until mixture thickens.
Add salt, sugar and remaining vinegar stirring until sugar dissolves.
Cook until thickened again.
Remove muslin bag.
Pour into sterilised containers and seal.
3 large cucumbers
1 large onion
570ml white wine vinegar
200g soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbs mustard seeds
Slice cucumber thinly with the skins on, slice onion thinly.
Lay in layers in a colander sprinkling each layer with salt.
Put a plate with heavy weight on top and another underneath and leave to drain for 3 hours.
Put vinegar, sugar and spices in a pan and stir over a medium heat to dissolve sugar.
Add cucumber and onion slices bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and lift slices with a draining spoon into sterile jars.
Return vinegar to hear and boil for fifteen minutes, uncovered.
Pour over cucumber and onion slices and seal jars.
Leave for a month before using.
The chutney didn't really make a dent in my supply of green tomatoes I still had lots left. I cannot eat tomatoes so did not want to make any more chutney as we had plenty for my husband to eat. I searched for other recipes for preserving green tomatoes and found one for ketchup. This was tested a few days after making it at a barbecue, I am told it is delicious! The bottle I made is in the middle of the Chutney picture above.
Green Tomato Ketchup
3lbs green tomatoes roughly chopped
1lb apples roughly chopped
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
Pinch each of coriander, mustard, allspice, clove and ginger powders
1 dried chilli
1/2 pint cider vinegar
All the recipes I found (this is an amalgam of several) suggested finely chopping the tomatoes, apples and onions. Three pounds is a fair amount of tomatoes and after finely chopping a couple I went for the rough method and threw the whole lot (toms, apples and onions) in a food processor to let the machine do the work for me.
I put this and all the other ingredients in a large pan, bought it to the boil and simmered gently for a hour stirring occasionally.
Then you sieve the mix and return to the pan.
Reboil and simmer until mixture is desired thickness.
Bottle into sterilised containers.
enjoying this on my porridge for the last few weeks!
this book which is no longer in print. My copy is falling apart it was the first vegetarian cookbook I bought, as a student, back in the 90s. Despite the name this is actually a thick, firm and delicious apple jam.
3lb Cooking Apples
1 3/4 pt Water
Approx 3lb Golden Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves (optional)
Wash and chop the apples without peeling or removing the cores.
Cover with water and simmer gently until pulpy.
Sieve and weigh the pulp and return to pan.
Add 3/4lb of sugar for every pound of apple pulp.
Add spices if using.
Heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
Boil until thick and creamy.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
I don't think this will last long in our house we have already eaten one jar!
All the blogs etc I looked at suggested spreading the fruit to a 1/4 inch which I did but again it did not dry as it was too thick, perhaps the writers do not actually know what 1/4 inch is! The ideal thickness for me was between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch.
I used apples to make these leathers but now I have found the best method to make them I will try this with other fruits next year as they come into season. My children love to snack on these.
I have had real fun making all these different preserves, I just hope they last the winter!
—–Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!
Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed: