This is the second canning workshop organised by Richmond Food Secure. Originally, Karen wanted to do a peach chutney. But, since the Richmond Food Tree Sharing Project collected a lot of pears that week, Karen made a change of recipe to Pear Chutney instead. Karen is very versatile and she often has to decide on what to cook in the Gilmore Park Community Meal at the very last minute depending on what she gets from the food bank, Richmond Food Tree Sharing Project and other donors.
Chutney is a relish made by combining fruits and spices, originally accompanying Indian (south Asian) meals. The Hindi word chatni means ‘to taste’.
Some chutneys use fresh ingredients and are served immediately, while others are cooked, then processed to preserve the fruits for later use. Chutney can be sweet or sour, spicy or not; or combinations of these. Like any relish, the texture can vary from smooth to chunky, depending on the creator. Typical ingredients can include combinations of mango, apple, pears, peaches, plums, herbs, citrus fruits, tomato, raisins, coconut, vinegar(s), honey, sugar, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilies. But generally, a chutney makes use of the ingredients which are typically at hand.
For today’s recipe, we got to sample it. Karen brought a jar of her Peach Chutney made last year for us to sample. Chutney can be served beside cheeses and cold meats, or with hot meals. Ginger/pear combinations are particularly delicious with pork or chicken.
The chutney pairs well with the tangy and creamy goat cheese. This is a great appetizer for entertaining.
- 6 cups peeled, cored and diced/sliced fresh pears (about 6-9 medium, or 1.1 kg), preferably half ripe and half not so ripe
- 1 cup tart apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 large)
- 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
- 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
- 1/2 cup seedless raisins (50-60gm)
- 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup golden brown sugar (160-175gm)
- 1 to 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, peeled (or 1 teaspoon ground dried ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
This recipe makes 3 to 4, 250 ml jars.
|Karen has a teaching assistant for his workshop. Coleen started off the workshop with a demonstration of how to select a good knife. You should be able to balance the knife on your hand like the photo. Well, I checked my knives at home and none of them can balance like that. Hm, it’s time to get a new one. Coleen also said that a “D’ shape handle is more comfortable to the hold but this depends on individuals. Most importantly, the knife must feel comfortable in your hand.
|Coleen also demonstrated to us how to dice onion without the tear factor. First, slice the onion into half right in the middle of the root so that both halves will still have root intact.
Peel back the skin, leaving them intact so that you can hold on to them. Slice off the papery top if needed.
Make vertical cuts 3/4 way. The number of cuts depends on how fine you want your dice to be.
|Make one or two horizontal cut 3/4 too. Make a clean cut and do not saw through as sawing motion will fan out the onion.
|Finally, slice the onion from top and watch how Coleen curled up her fingers to prevent accidents.
Coleen, thank you for the demonstration.
|Put all the ingredients EXCEPT PEARS into a large saucepan and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
|Add pears. Increase heat to medium-high until mixture boils.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chutney is ready when mixture is thick and no excess liquid appears when parted with a spoon. Remove garlic cloves.
|Carefully spoon mixture into warm sterilized jars. Top with lids which have been heated 5 minutes in hot (not boiling water) and proceed to boiling-water process jars for 10 minutes for 250ml jars.
For more detail on the canning process, check out this blog.
|We also learned that placing the jars onto the rack needs some methodology. First, place in the center, then place on the side and directly opposite to achive a balance so that the rack will not fall into the pot.
|If you have only half a jar, do not put into the boiling water pot as the jar will float to the top.
|When processing time is complete, turn heat off and remove canner lid. When boil subsides i.e. bubbles no longer rise to surface (3 to 5 minutes), remove jars without tilting. Cool jars upright, undisturbed 24 hours. Do not retighten screw bands.
|I love the story behind this rack made of screw bands. Karen told us that by recycling these screw bands into something useful, she does’nt have to throw away stuff her mother-in-law gave her.