It’s done. The lids are screwed down, the jars still warm are filled to the brim. The first chutney is in.
Our fabulous courgette plants are already producing plump marrows that I certainly don’t want to waste. Coinciding beautifully with the plums coming into season it seemed like the perfect time to make a batch of chutney. I am using the recipe I found so great last year from the River Cottage Cookbook. The River Cottage Chutney can be made with a variety of fruit and veg, I used marrow from the garden along with onions, plums and apples bought from local producers at the farmers market. A truly home grown affair.
I followed Hugh’s advice and took the time to hand chop much of the fruit and veg to give a nice texture to the finished product, though the onions went straight in the food processor! After a few hours of cooking the crisp marrow, apple and onion had merged with the plums and other highly classified ingredients to make this:
This mysterious soup marinades into the perfect spread to go with meat or cheese and is ubiquitous English fare. Many of our Canadian friends are unfamiliar with chutney but we are slowly winning them round with chunky cheese and chutney sandwiches on home made bread. Who could resist the tangy, fruity, sharpness of a really good chutney? Not us that’s for sure.
A jar brimming with homemade produce fills me with all sorts of Amish joy. It is a satisfaction beyond anything that can be purchased. My family will feast on this fare for many months to come and, as with so many things, this chutney will only improve with age.
This batch of loveliness has been perfectly timed as the last jars, made in the Autumn of ’08, are in the final stages of being demolished. Of course no jars will be opened before they have matured for a couple of weeks, but they will be ready in time to prevent any kind of tasty sandwich withdrawal setting in.
I’m aware that a circle has been closed. The previous year’s produce is finished and we are restocking our freezer and pantry with the products of this year’s work. Through the winter months we will still be enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labour, sustained by the flavours and the memories of summer. But last year is gone. There is a simple finality to the turning of a year belying the incredible highs and almost unbearable lows of the last 12 months. I know the process of life is anything but simple but there are things we can do, steps we can take that move us ever forward. Our work is rewarded by the pleasures promised in the glistening jars for our future selves.
No one can know what the next year will bring, but for today I am satisfied. Satisfied to say, I did that.