Make use of your bumper Croydon crop and get ahead of the game
30th August 2012
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It never ceases to amaze me how one little tree can bear so much fruit. And this year, possibly due to our highly erratic seasonal weather the crop appears to have come early and in abundance. Now over the years my somewhat limited culinary skills have meant I have generously kept most of the street supplied with enough apple sauce to last a lifetime (much of which I suspect is still lurking in the dark corners of several freezers). Every year I promise myself I will create apple pies grandma would be proud of, every year I make apple sauce... in bulk.


This year will be different. I'm thinking ahead.


As mums everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief whilst waving their little ones off at the school gates, that relief may be short lived because as sure as eggs is eggs (or apples is apples!) there will be notes coming home looking for contributions to the Autumn Fair, Harvest Festival and other seasonal celebrations that I refuse to even contemplate whilst August is only just drawing to a close. You see where I'm going here?


I have scoured the internet, rooted out cookery books that haven't seen the light of day for nigh on twenty years, and watched avidly as celebrity chefs create gourmet feasts with little more than the humble apple. Apple cinnamon buns, apple strudel, apple snow... ok, roasted butternut squash and apple soup with cumin-dusted pitta chips... what?!?!


Ok, acknowledging my own limitations, I have come up with possibly the most simple chutney recipe since Mr Sarson pickled his first onion. Here goes...



1½ kg apples peeled and diced 750g light muscovado sugar 500g raisins 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 tsp mustard seeds 2 tsp ground ginger1 tsp salt700ml cider vinegar


Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, then simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 30-40 minutes, or until thick and pulpy. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and transfer to sterilised, clean, dry jars and seal.


And there you go! Goes great with pork, roast ham, Ploughmans... all sorts, and it keeps for AGES unopened, and a good few weeks in the fridge once opened.


And here's where you can get creative too, think ribbons and bows, gingham lids and pretty labels... just use your imagination. Most importantly of all, put your name on it, somewhere not too discreet, and prepare to gloat as it sits alongside the tins of peas and tuna on the Harvest Festival table (and Autumn Fair, and other forthcoming seasonal celebrations that will not be mentioned!)

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