Today I was putting out some bacon rind for the birds (this is something that adults do, and I am one) when I discovered we had a hitherto-unsuspected plum tree in the garden. It’s a very blustery day today (which, by the way, is turning out to be quite gross given that the binmen have been strike for the past month) so all but one had fallen off and only about five looked properly edible. There were a lot that looked semi-edible though and were just a bit squashed and sad-looking, so I decided to try to do something else that adults do and make a chutney.
As I am only just learning to be an adult, I do not know how to make a chutney, so I went and put on a special chutney-making dress. Because I do know how to choose a good dress.
According to the internet making a chutney seems to consist of chucking a load of stuff in a pot and then making it hot for a while. I didn’t have enough plums for properly plum-centric chutney so I decided on a spiced apple and plum chutney.
Here is my cobbled together list of ingredients:
- Plums (as many as we had)
- Apples (as many as we had, which was five)
- Zest and juice of one orange (I chucked some orange juice in too for good measure)
- Onions (small, only two because I was nervous. Should’ve been red really but I am assuming white is fine)
- Cider vinegar (300ml. Should’ve been red wine vinegar, but we didn’t have any, and the bottle for the cider vinegar said ‘good for use in chutneys and sauces’ so I am confident that this will be ok)
- Demerara sugar (a shitload. Or, if you prefer metric, 500g)
- Cinnamon (1 tsp)
- Ginger (1 tsp)
- Cloves (some)
Then you whack it in a massive pot and make it really hot til all of the sugar dissolves. I think I may have over-vinegared, the fumes went right up my nose. After that you leave it to simmer for about an hour or two until it is brown and syrupy in consistency.
You have to sterilise the jars! This is important because germs. Opinion on the internets was divided as to method so I did what we all do in a complicated situation and phoned my mummy. She lives in the countryside and knows her jams. We decided I should boil them in water in a saucepan and then put them in the oven for a bit (a rather snooty-sounding woman on a forum says that 100 degrees just isn’t good enough and they need to be heated up to 125-140 degrees to be on the safe side).
Then you put all your chutneys in your jars, label them and mature them for a month or two. Mine should be ready in time for Christmas, so my family know what they’ll be getting, regardless of whether it turns out disgusting or not. I tried a little bit, it just tasted very sweet, but presumably it will be better once the flavours have had a chance to infuse.
So now I am officially a proper chutney-making gal! Now Jim and I are going to make a roast dinner (a day early, we are total mavericks) and then I am going to The Common Place to see a band called The Caliope of the Furture which my beardy-friend Joe has just described as “a theatrical folk band with accordion, xylophone, musical saw and tap dancer”. More on that and probably a review later.