We have a plethora of Pears on the allotment, and I hate the the sight of them fallen and rotting on the ground, the waste of such a delicious fruit really upsets me so I have been determined to use as many as I can.
Behind our plot is a communal area with Apple, Pear, Plum and Walnut trees. Having already gleaned the Damsons and made Jam, and with my freezer bursting with cooking apples I set to task to find a perfect pear formula.
I quickly rejected my Grandmother's recipes for Baked Pears, as it took over six hours of slow baking and I get very nervous of old recipes that say “allow 1 pound of sugar loaf”.
I am also mindful of being thrifty so I really want to use only what I have in the larder so having gathered my stores and plundered my spices I have made a Pear Chutney.
Fragrant Pear Chutney
600g Demerara Sugar
100g Brown sugar
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Ground Ginger
750ml Cider Vinegar
Peel, core and chop the pears into sugar-lump sized cubes (I got a little bored so the latter ones were a little larger, but it didn't matter)
Peel and chop the onions 425g was 2 onions
Slice the tomatoes
Chop the raisins
Put all of the above in a large heavy bottomed saucepan I used a preserving pan, simmer gently, and stir at intervals so the bottom doesn't catch, which will affect the taste. Simmer until the fruit and veg has softened.
Wrap the peppercorns in a bit of muslin and tie to make a little pouch and add to the mixture with the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer the chutney, and stir at regular intervals, for 2-3 hours,the chutney will thicken and darken.
When you are ready to decant, remove the peppercorn pouch, (obviously) and pot up the chutney in sterilised jars.
To Sterilise the jars wash and rinse them and place them in the oven at 160 c for 10-15 mins and boil the lids.
For Chutney always use vinegar proof lids that are non corrosive.
Store in a cool dark place and leave to mature for 2-3 months.
I have named it thus because the gorgeous aroma filled the house, it was slightly Chistmassy.
Chutney is usually better when left to mature but I have to confess that this tastes good already. It certainly passed the taste test with my friend and master blogger Fiona http://www.cottagesmallholder.com
Now I have to work out what to do with the rest of the pears !