Wednesday, 26 January 2011

More preserving with one working hotplate.

Last night Damo and I decided we should sort out the second bucket of plums. The morning saw us fill the 5 tray dehydrator with plums, most of which are ready just the last few still in the machine. Then once it cooled down last night we tried to tackle the rest. With a pot big enough to only fit 5 jars we still had a good few dozen left (plus today's bucket worth). You will notice that there is only one pot on the stove, this is because there is only one working hotplate on the stove. Makes thing difficult and we could only cook one thing at a time and it all just took forever.

But last night we made Plum Chutney it was getting rather late so I did not reduce it enough creating more of a sauce, but it is still yummy and I think will work well in a chicken stir fry. Do wish we had some smaller jars for it though so I could have preserved in one meal quantities. Recipe below.

We also made some plum and apple sauce. Now this one tastes like store apple sauce but with a background flavour and tang of the plums. It is really super nice. Once again tiredness kicked in and we created a chunky sauce as neither of us could be bother to blend it or push through a sieve. We can always do that when we use it if we want. Recipe below. We ended up with about 550g apple and same of plum and used 800g sugar and about 350ml of water. I also threw in a 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid (I am just a little terrified of poisoning the family right now). I did cook for less time so it didn't reduce too much as I wanted more of a sauce than a jam, I had trouble finding a simple plum and apple sauce recipe.

Plum Chutney

Recipe Ingredients
900g / 2lb plums
1 large onion
200g / 7oz raisins or sultanas (optional)
450g / 1lb brown sugar
570ml / 1pint malt or cider vinegar
1 thumb / 3cm ginger
1 Tblsp cinnamon
1 Tsp nutmeg
8 cloves
2 tsp salt

Sterilize the jars and lids with hot water and a kitchen sanitizer spray
(Or the old school method is to wash the jars then heat to 100°C - 120°C for 10 minutes in the oven)
Cut the plums into quarters (or if very large into eighths)
Slice the onion
Weigh the sugar and measure the vinegar
Roughly chop the ginger, measure the remaining spices

Cooking Method:
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan
Rapidly boil until thick (about 30-45 minutes)
Stir from time to time to ensure that the chutney doesn't stick or start to burn.
To test if the chutney is thick enough rapidly draw a ladle across the bottom of the pan, if you can clearly (yet briefly) see the pan's base before the chutney flushes back into place the chutney is done.
If not continue to thicken the chutney by boiling.
Check the seasoning, remove and discard the cloves and sliced ginger.
Pour hot, but not boiling, water into the preserving jars (this is to heat the glass so that it doesn't crack when you add the hot chutney)
Remove the water then pour the plum chutney into jars.
Seal and label.

Its quite difficult to get a real taste of a chutney's flavours while it is still hot. Once the chutney has cooled the flavours will develop and the longer you age the chutney, again the greater the flavours will develop. However if a chutney tastes quite bland when hot, this is an indication that the final product will also be quite flavourless.
Too bland: Add more spices / or salt
Too thin: Continue to heat the chutney until it thickens
Too thick: Add a little water

Chef Tip:
If you don't have a funnel roll up a non-stick baking mat into a cone, then use this to easily pour the chutney from pot to preserving jar.

Homemade Plum and Apple Jam

yield 2.5kg (approx)
750 g plums
3 1/2 cups (750 g) apples (peeled and cored)
450 ml water
1.5 kg sugar


1. Wash the plums and put into a preserving pan with the apples and the water.

2. Cook the fruit slowly until the skins of the plums are softened.

3. Add the sugar, stir over low heat until dissolved, bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

4. Remove the stones as they rise to the surface (a stone basket clipped to the side of the pan is useful for holding the stones, and allows any liquid to drip back into the pan).

5. Alternatively, the plums may be stoned before cooking.

6. Remove from the heat, skim, pot, cover, and label.

Cooking time 45 minutes (approx)

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