Pear, Prune and Walnut Chutney #254
Meanderings of a Domestic Goddess
A few words about chutney and jams and of course, a recipe.
Have you ever had the most disappointing experience of ‘putting away’ some jam or chutney or other preserves, to go back a while later to find…..mould …..urrghhhhh.
I know, you were so clean and careful, but it is often the jars and the seals that let you down. The surefire way to prevent this is to ‘waterbath’ all jams, preserves and pickles after you have bottled them. Boiling water bathing is a simple method of ensuring that a good vacuum is established on your bottle and that the contents will not grow mould, fungi or any other unsafe greeblies….Essentially you immerse the bottles in a boiling water bath for a prescribed period of time. The jars seal with a vacuum removing any air and any potential for mould to grow.
I use ball mason jars which can be obtained in Australia from the Redback Trading Company via the internet (www.redbacktrading.com.au) The bottles have a lid with a rubber seal that when immersed in a waterbath as recommended, will give a very effective vacuum seal.
Some people waterbath using secondhand bottles with new lids to cut costs a little, and some people use the vacola bottling system, which is the most well known waterbath system here in Australia. Try garage sales and secondhand shops to source vacola kits and bottles.
To learn more about waterbath methods, please try the Ball Blue Preserving book available from the Redback trading Co (it is about $16.00 and is well worth the cost if you are going to use this method). There is also lots of information on the internet and in your local library about home preserving and jam and chutney making using the waterbath method.
Here’s the recipe for a tasty chutney. This one is good with meats and cheeses. I love it on crackers with a good cheese and a glass of red wine.
2 onions, chopped finely
4 firm pears, diced finely
1 green apple, diced finely
60g ginger, grated finely
250g pitted prunes, chopped
400ml cider vinegar (good quality works best)
75g walnuts, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of garam masala
Put all ingredients in a heavy based saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 90 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and reduced by about half. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Makes approx 4 jars.