Autumn in the garden seems to be accompanied by an over-abundance of crops that we either let to go to waste or give away to neighbours and family. Pickling and preserving excess garden produce that you can’t eat all at once is a great way to get the most out of your garden. How many of us have bought beetroot, gherkins, jalapeno peppers, sundried tomatoes or even different tomato or pepper chutneys from the supermarket? I honestly believe that gardeners are often missing a vital step in their gardening experience if you don’t try pickling and preserving some of your own bountiful crops.
Pickling is one of the oldest known ways for preserving food and is accomplished by including a preservation process using vinegar and/or oils which penetrate the food and prevent deterioration. Pickles and chutneys are a great way to use up fruit you may have not used because of the unusual shape, weather markings as well as excess crops. When making pickles and chutneys the appearance of the fruit doesn’t matter.
The reason food lasts longer when preserved is because bacteria can not grow in vinegar, so well before the freezer was invented this method of food preservation provided the family with healthy produce all year round.
Kaye Oderings Grandmothers Tomato Relish Recipe
Boil 3kg tomatoes, 12 onions, ¼ tablespoon of salt, 3 ½ cups of sugar, 2 cups of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of mustard powder, 2 tablespoons of curry powder and five or six chilli’s, for one hour. Thicken with 2 tablespoons of cornflour mixed with vinegar.
Karen Oderings Dads Tomato Sauce
3kg of tomatoes, 4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of vinegar, 2 large onions roughly chopped, ½ packet of pickling spice, 5 teaspoons of salt. Put pickling spice in a muslin bag and hang over the side of the pot. Boil all ingredients for 2 hours then blitz through a food processor.
Sweet Apple Chutney
This recipe is hundreds of years old and has been passed down the Simcock family for generations. Thanks to Val and John for this recipe.
Finely chop or put into a food processor 1.4kg of quality cooking apples, 230gms of dates, 450gms of onions. Put into a pan with 480mls of spiced vinegar and cook until soft. Add 450gms of brown sugar, a pinch of salt and bring to boil, stirring to avoid burning. Stew for a short while. Mix 2 large tablespoons of cornflour with a little spiced vinegar to make a smooth paste. Add this to the fruit mix, and bring to the boil, stirring to prevent burning. When the mix has thickened, put it into sterilized jars, and seal.
My mum made this recipe recently and we had home-preserved beetroot throughout the Christmas holidays. It didn’t last long because it was so delicious. This recipe can be used to preserve other vegetables, e.g. cauliflower.
Cook enough beetroot to fill 4-6 jars until soft. Leave whole or slice and put into sterilized jars. Now boil 3 cups of water, 1½ cups of vinegar and 7 tablespoons of brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved and liquid is piping hot. Pour the hot liquid over the beetroot, then seal. This will keep for six months but is best if left for two weeks before eating.
Thai style Jalapeno Sauce
Vivian (one of our staff) recently brought some of this chutney into work and it has a nice little bite but is quite sweet and not too hot.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil, 30 fresh jalapeno peppers (sliced and seeded), 6 cloves of garlic, 1 cup minced onions and 1½ teaspoons of salt and sauté for five minutes. Add ½ cup of sugar and 4 cups of water to the mixture and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Leave to cool. When cool whizz in a food processor until smooth. Add 2 cups of vinegar and bring to the boil. Once hot put into sterilized bottles. This will last for six months in the fridge.
Best pickled onions
Kaye Oderings’ mother had this recipe that Kaye’s kids are now also making. Delicious.
Cover 2.2 kgs of skinned pickling onions with ½-1 cup of salt and stand for 24 hours. After the 24 hours put 950mls of vinegar and 450grams of sugar into a pot and boil. Take some cloves, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons of turmeric, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 dessertspoon mustard powder and whizz into a paste with a little vinegar in a food processor, then add to the boiling mixture. Boil until thickened. Add the onions (do not wash) to sterilized jars and pour over the liquid and seal. This should be left for three weeks before eating, and keeps for 6 months.
Roger Merryman worked for us years ago when I was just a little girl; this is his recipe that he passed onto us all those years ago.
Wash and scrub 2 kg of gherkins or cucumbers, sprinkle ½ cup of plain salt all over the gherkins/cucumbers while wet and leave for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally. Drain the cucumbers/gherkins and cover with plain hot water.
Bring to the boil 2 cups of sugar, 4 cups of vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat. Drain the gherkins and pack tightly into jars. To each jar add 1 teaspoon each of mustard and celery seeds (at the top of jar). Pour the hot vinegar over the still hot gherkins until they are covered. Screw lids on jars and leave for 2 weeks before eating.
12 cups of minced mixed vegetables (all sorts) covered with cold water. Add ½ a cup of salt and leave for 24 hours. Drain and rinse.
Bring to the boil 4 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon of mustard powder, 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of celery seed, 4 cups of white vinegar. Once boiling, add vegetables and boil for a further 2-3 minutes. Put into jars and seal. Leave 3 weeks before eating.
The vegetable mix could include; cauliflower, carrots, onions, zucchinis, gherkins, celery, beans etc.
1.8 kg rhubarb stems chopped finely 1.8 kg sugar
4 cups vinegar
6 large onions chopped
Boil all ingredients together for two hours then bottle. Will keep for one year. Great with pork, cold meats and cheese.