Apple overload? How about a chutney

Guest blogger Katy Pollard knows her apples. At home in Leeds, she grows herbs, fruit and veg and keeps chickens, ducks and even a pig. She loves cooking with items from the garden and here shares a simple recipe which could help out with that seasonal crop.

Harvest time is a happy time if you grow your own fruit and veg and even more so if you’re a foodie like me. Autumn throws a glut of deliciousness at us and this year any complaints we had about the dreadful weather and crop of 2012 have been firmly put back in their place. The combination of a late wet spring followed by hot summer and cool autumn has been perfect – and particularly for fruit. Apples are big, bouncy and buoyant right now and the varieties I’ve been growing are making the branches they sit on bow under their weight. So this weekend I dusted off my wicker basket and picked and picked and picked.
The apple has taken on much different connotations in recent times. Most of us are more familiar with the technology company or the offspring of a certain celebrity than we with are the fruit. We were taught the biblical story of Eve and her inability to resist plucking so we are aware it was a fruit that held significant symbolism at some point in history. However, it seems that the apple has fallen out of favour in more recent times being pushed aside by more exotic and colourful fruit and veg (purple-sprouting broccoli, anyone?) But at a time when many of us are pursuing produce with fewer food miles, let’s look at it again.
The humble apple can also be exotic. Let me tell you about the variety I’ve grown called Red Love Sirena. The trees produce shiny red apples that are also red all the way through. They have a sweet taste described by a friend as ‘a bit like red Opal Fruits’. Their unique colouring means they’re great to cook with and I felt they demand recipes that show off their distinct red colour. For me, Chutney is perfect for this. What could be better than a shock of red in a jar in the centre of a table ready to be popped open and served with a veiny blue cheese and a pack of crackers?
So, with my wicker basket of goods in front of me, I did what I usually do when conjuring up recipes. I spent some time reading up other people’s recipes (the wonder of Google). I took the best ingredients from each recipe; removed the ingredients I didn’t like; added in things I do like and substituted what I didn’t have in my cupboards for something similar. I’m also a bit of a ‘chuck it in and see’ type of cook so there aren’t too many measurements in my recipes. Of course, this recipe works just as well with any type of apple, so go forth and forage and enjoy.
A shock of red chutney
About 8 Apples
One onion
A couple of good handfuls of raisins
A teaspoon of paprika
A teaspoon of ginger
A teaspoon of all spice
A good sprinkle of sugar to taste
About 350mls of Cider vinegar

Chuck it all in a big heavy-bottomed pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 1.5-2 hours until it is really thick. Keep stirring while it’s cooking. Try not to eat too much of it whilst it’s on the hob (and try not to burn your mouth as you do). Then turn off the heat and let it cool and put it in a sterlised jars and in the fridge. Eat.

if you’ve got a recipe, food review or news that you’d like to share here, please give me a shout


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