Happy New Year everyone!
One of the things we like most about the warmer months is the abundance of fruit available for converting to condiments, ie pickles, chutneys and relishes. In our home, that will always include green tomato pickle and pear & ginger chutney; we tend to make these later in the season, when there is an ample supply of not-ripe-enough tomatoes and the first pears of the new year.
So far this summer, we have made three condiments that we didn’t get around to making in the 2015/16 season: pickled cherries, red tomato relish and spicy peach chutney.
The recipe for the pickled cherries leaves their primary fruit flavour largely intact, whilst adding a savoury edge. We have mainly used them with duck, smoked eel and antipasti, and in a festive rice salad to go with ham or poultry.
500g firm, ripe cherries, stems attached (to prevent bleeding)
200g sugar (white or raw)
200ml white wine vinegar
1 fresh bay leaf (or 2 dried leaves)
2 long strips orange zest
2 long strips lemon zest
1 stick cinnamon
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
- Pack the cherries into sterilised jars.
- Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the spiced vinegar mixture over the cherries, cover with lids immediately and tip jars upside down to seal.
- Leave for a month before eating. When you open a jar for the first time, remove all the solid elements of the pickling medium, eg zest, cinnamon, bay leaf.
- If stored in a dark, cool place, the cherries will keep for up to 2 years
The third of the photos shows how the jar of cherries looks after 24 hours. The last photo was taken three weeks later.
Maggie grew up living with her parents in the home of her grandmother, who was an expert in culinary self-sufficiency. Tomato relish was a regular summer product, using home-grown tomatoes. This recipe produces a spicy condiment that matches Maggie’s palate-memory.
1kg ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
375g brown onions, peeled and sliced
3 tsp mild (Madras) curry powder
3 tsp mustard powder
pinch of chilli flakes
400ml white vinegar
- Place tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, cover with cling wrap and leave overnight.
- Next morning, strain off the liquid. Place the tomato mixture in a large pan, add vinegar and sugar and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
- Add spices to the pan and stir. Boil gently for 1 hour, stirring regularly to prevent the relish from catching.
- Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Stored in a good fridge, the relish will keep for
at least 18 months.