Making chutneys and preserves is one of the pleasures of this season. Chutneys, jams and jellies are great Christmas presents and there’s something enormously satisfying in preparing them (and enjoying them afterwards, of course!). Lindy Wildsmith, the author of Cured, has shared two delicious recipes with us, and we’re giving away a signed copy of her stunning book too!
Images and text taken from Cured: Slow Techniques for Enhancing Meat, Fish, Fruit & Vegetables, by Lindy Wildsmith. Photographs by Simon Wheeler. Published by Jacqui Small at £30.
Lindy Wildsmith’s PLUM CHUTNEY
Makes 2x 200-250ml Jars
- 500g of fruit (if using plums or other stoned fruit be sure to remove stones and chop; apples should be peeled and chopped)
- 100q onion chopped
- 5g Whole pickling spice, tied up in muslin
- 125ml Malt vinegar
- 100g granulated sugar
- 5g Seal salt
- Pinch of dry mustard powder
2x 200-250 ml jars with lids washed and sterilized, and cellophane discs (jam pot covers)
This lovely old country recipe can be made with any plums, greengages, damsons, apples, rhubarb or whatever fruit you have available. Plums and damsons make a marvellous purple-coloured concoction.
Put the prepared fruit and onion in a preserving pan with the tied up spices and half the vinegar and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
After this time, stir in the sugar, salt, mustard powder and remaining vinegar and simmer until the fruit has evaporated and the mixture is creamy. This may take upto an hour, but remember to stir regularly, as if the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan it will burn.
Put the preserving jars to warm in a preheated low oven at 110 oC/Gas mark 1/4
Leave to rest for about 20 minutes before potting. Spoon the chutney into the warm sterilized jars, cover the surface with cellophane discs and seal. Leave to cool before labelling. Store in the dark for at least a month before opening. The chutney will keep for at least a year.
Lindy Wildsmith’s FORAGER’S JELLY
Makes 1-2 x 250ml Jars
- 1.5 Eldederberries, blackberries or hawthorn berries
- 400ml water
- Preserving sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 x 250 ml jars with lids washed and sterilized; and cellophane discs (jam pot covers)
Jelly making is a little more involved than making jam or chutney in that the cooked fruit needs to be left overnight in a suspended jelly bag to drip before boiling it with the sugar. But it is well worth the effort, especially when using berries gathered from the hedgerows. Bear in mind that the yield is lower than with the jam.
If using hawthorn berries, be warned that they turn a peculiar green colour when cooked, but the resulting juice, albeit it low in yield, is a glorious red.
Put the preserving jars to warm in a preheated low oven at 100 oC/ Gas mark 1/4.
Wash the fruit, drain well and transfer to a large saucepan. Add the water and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is tender. carefully transfer the fruit to a jelly bag and suspend over bowl. Leave the juices to drip overnight.
After this time, measure the juice and transfer it to a preserving pan. Add 400g preserving sugar to every 600ml juice (this quantity of fruit may yield less than 600ml). Add the lemon juice and set over low heat, stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat and boil rapidly for for about 5-10 minutes until setting point is reached. Pull the pan off the heat, take 1/2 teaspoon of the juice and set it on a cooled saucer in the fridge. Leave for 10 mins. If the jelly has started to set it is ready. If not boil again for a further 5-10 mins, stirring and watching that it does not stick to the pan and burn. Test again. Be patient and if nescessary boil up again for a further 5 mins. The setting time depends how much water is in the fruit.
When ready, transfer to a wide-mouthed jug and pour into the warm sterilized jars, cover the surface of the jelly with the cellophane discs and seal while still hot. Leave to cool before labelling and store in the dark for a month before opening. The jelly will keep for two years or more.
For more info on Lindy’s work and to buy her book, you can visit her website here.