There is something very satisfying about making preserves. It connects us to the earth’s rhythms and changing seasons when produce is plentiful. And it evokes nostalgia for our tupuna or grandparents who planned ahead to ensure adequate provisions were in place for the winter. Best of all it’s an economical way to ensure your family are getting the best quality food throughout the year.
What you may not realise is that preserving is also very simple. For beginners a rainy summer weekend is the perfect time to give it a go and here’s a great recipe for organic plum chutney to get you started.
Any plums will do although it can be useful getting ones that the stones are easily removed from. We used a combination of Omega (for tart flavour), Luisa (for sweetness) and Black Doris (for colour). You’ll also need to source about 6-9 jars depending on their size – jam jar size are best. Ops shops often have a good selection.
- 2kg organic plums, pitted and diced
- 2 cups fair trade, organic sugar
- 2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
- 2 onions, diced
- ½ cups dried figs
- 2 TB ginger, freshly grated
- 2 tsp Himalayan salt
- Zest of 1 lemon, sliced into thin strips
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp ground cloves
Add sugar and vinegar to a large pot and bring to the boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add all the remaining ingredients and return to the boil. Simmer until thickened – about 40-60 minutes – stirring regularly.
While the chutney is cooking, prepare your jars by first washing them in hot soapy water, then transferring them to a large pot of boiling water to sterilise. Keep them warm in the oven (120° C) until ready to fill. See here for more information on jar preparation.
Preserving is not really a kid-friendly activity but you can involve them by getting them to make fancy lids out of fabric scraps and rubber bands, and writing the label on coloured washi tape.