Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Gorgeous Gluts and Perfect Preserves

I've not been around to blog for a while as I've been dealing with a wide range of preserving issues (on top of work - sometimes it really gets in the way of living; but it  pays the mortgage).
Amazingly the tomatoes which had blight have responded to my drastic cutting out of any infected material  by giving us a fantastic crop.  We've had about 8 or 9 kilos of tomatoes so far and there are still more on the vine; although it's fairly obvious that the tomato season is coming to an end.

So with all this bounty, it's proved impossible to eat them all so I've taken to the preserving pan.  

I've turned 2 kilos into Italian sauce, 1 kilo into tomato and chilli jam and 2.5 kilos into tomato and roasted pepper chutney and we have frozen about 1 kilo in the new freezer.  And we still have more to go!

A vast amount of tomato bounty.

Roasted peppers - I keep the skins on as I like the slightly smoky taste of the charred skins.

 Tomatoes reducing with peppers, onion, sugar and white wine vinegar - yep it's that simple!

 The finished tomato and roasted pepper chutney in some very cute jars from Wilko's.  In all we have 8 jars now lurking in the pantry.

 Chillies and tomatoes reducing to jam.

Three jars of delicious jam, sweet yet piquant and perfect with sausages, chops, various meat dishes and sandwiches.

We were also very lucky as a neighbour had a fantastic crop of damsons this year and very generously allowed me to pick a whole basket.
Wow! don't they look lucious!

So I set about stoning and halving 3 kilos of damsons.   My hands were yellow by the end of this session - and it didn't scrub out of my nails immediately.  Oh well, it led to an interesting conversation at work; apparently not everyone spends the weekend at various stages of the preserving process - who'd have thought it.

I made 1 kilo into damson chutney and froze the other two kilos for later - either pies or more chutney.

Speaking of the freezer; we now have a second freezer.  Jean-Luc and I had been discussing getting a small second freezer for a while; not only to cope with our present and (hopefully) future crops but also to hold the vast amount of extra chilli and curry that Jean-Luc wants to make.  So he went to the pub, had a chat with some guys and ended up with a small chest freezer that someone had for spare in return for a whole passel of tomatoes and damsons.
 Chilli con carne and beef and vegetable curry for freezing.  The chilli has only our homegrown jalapenos in it  and tastes pretty damn good and hot.

Yes dear reader we bartered for a freezer - alternative economy rocks!

PS some friends have just asked if we want some damsons - apparently it's a bumper year for fruit (there was a slight not of desperation in their voice).  We will be taking advantage of their lovely offer and trading some of the already made preserves in return.

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