Preserve Summer Fruit & Vegetables

Preserve Summer Fruit & Vegetables

Preserving by canning is a good way of using excess garden fruit and vegetables. It’s also in the spirit of Thanksgiving in North America and Harvest Festival in Europe. We are thankful for the summer produce from our gardens and we can show it by not wasting it. The best way to do that is to preserve it to eat during the cold months of winter.

If you have apple trees, you will probably find you have more apples than you know what to do with. There is a limit to the number of apple pies, crumbles and other apple desserts you can store in your freezer or give away to friends and relatives.

Instead you can preserve with other fruit and vegetables by making chutneys, a kind of sweet pickle originating in India.

In England we refer to making fruit and vegetables into pickles and chutneys as preserving but I believe that in the USA it’s called canning. Please let me know if I’m wrong about that.

You can use up bruised and damaged fruit and vegetables in chutney, much better than just putting them on the compost heap.

A General Guide to Making Chutneys

Ingredients

Chutneys are popular in the UK and are a kind of sweet pickle. They are very easy to make and don’t take hours either. Although you can follow recipes like the ones below, you can also use your own judgement once you’ve made one or two. You can throw in almost any fruit or vegetables you have on hand. You can also use your favourite spices instead of the ones in the recipes. Why put in ginger, for example, if you hate it but would prefer to use cinnamon instead?

There are a few very definite dos and don’ts.

Pans used for Cooking Chutney

Under no circumstances use brass, copper or iron pans to make chutney, they will give a nasty metallic taste to it. Use aluminium, stainless steel or enamelled pans.

Storage Jars and Lids

Prepare the jars by washing them in clean, soapy water then rinse well. Put them in the oven on a very low temperature about 20 – 30 minutes before the chutney is ready so you put it into warm jars.

They should have either plastic or vinegar proof lids. Plain metal lids will be attacked by the vinegar.

Vinegar

Use the best quality vinegar you can get with an acid content of at least 5%. Clear vinegar can give a more natural and prettier appearance than brown malt vinegar although some people prefer the flavour of the latter. You can also use vinegars that have been infused with herbs or spices.

Spices

Although I have included spices in the recipes, don’t feel you have to stick to them. Just put in what you like best. I also add different kinds of fruit and vegetables without much regard for recipes. These are just to give you general guidelines.

Preserving Jars on Amazon.com

Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni 8 1/2 Oz Canning Jar, Set of 12
Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni Jars

Ball 8-Ounce Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
Ball 8-Oz Quilted Crystal Jelly Jars

Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 6
Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars

Apple Chutney

3 pounds cooking apples
3 pounds onions
1 pounds dried fruit like sultanas or raisins
1-1/2 pounds demerara (brown) sugar
2 lemons
1 pint malt vinegar

Method

1. Peel, core and dice the apples, peel and chop the onions. Grate the lemon rind and squeeze and strain the juice.

2. Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.

3. Simmer until the mixture is very thick with no excess liquid at all.

4. Pot up.

Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

4 pounds tomatoes
8ozs white sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3/4 pint white vinegar

Method

1. Remove the skins from the tomatoes by putting them in boiling water for a couple of minutes then put them in cold water and the skins will come off very easily.

2. Put the tomatoes into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until they are very soft and pulpy. Then add all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil again.

3. Simmer until the mixture is very thick with no excess liquid at all.

4. Remove and pot up.

Green Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

1 pound cooking apples
3 pounds green tomatoes
8ozs onions
8ozs dried fruit like sultanas or raisins
8ozs demerara (brown) sugar
2 or 3 pieces of whole root ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3/4 pint malt vinegar

Method

1. Peel, core and dice the apples, peel and chop the onions. Slice the tomatoes but keep the ginger roots whole.

2. Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.

3. Simmer until the mixture is very thick with no excess liquid at all.

4. Remove the root ginger and pot up.

Author

I live in the UK, in the south of England, in a small country town. I've been writing for over 20 years, first for specialist magazines and then online since 1998. I have diverse interests from politics to food, antiques and collectables to animals and the environment. I enjoy doing crafts, reading, taking my dog for a walk and many other things.

One comment

  • I keep coming back to that luscious-looking Green Tomato Chutney recipe, with the apples and ginger in it. That sounds like it would be to-die-for on the side of a nice crispy slice of pork roast for a winter dinner.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *