Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Homemade Christmas Gifts // Chutney

John and I made chutney for the first time three years ago, when some friends of ours who have lots of land to raise their own meat and grow their own fruit on, invited us to go and help ourselves to their abundance of damsons. In our ignorance, we picked their plums, so we ended up making a batch of what we called 'Plumson Chutney', as we used a combination of plums and damsons. We gave away jars to family and friends for Christmas, and most of the recipients devoured their jars, before requesting more. And so a tradition was started. The following year, we made spiced apple chutney, and ventured a little further into making edible gifts, to include chilli jam and lime syrup.
So this year, when the boughs of trees weighed heavy with their harvest for the year, we contacted our friends with their fields and fruit trees, and soon became the happy recipients of 3 pounds of damsons and another friend kindly gave us a few pounds of apples. I felt even more keen than ever before to store up a cupboard full of chutney, ready for Christmas, in the knowledge that our precious daughter would be arriving just in time for Christmas. In anticipation of our lives being taken over by a tiny person, I was keen to get preparations for Christmas underway, and so one October afternoon, John and I filled our home with the smells of Christmas spices and vinegar, and worked together to make a big old batch of Damson Chutney. (It's messy work, I'm not going to lie!)

The recipe we followed can be found here, thanks to good old Delia Smith (if you are reading this and are not English, Delia is a well loved British cook, who has been cooking, baking and writing recipe books for decades). This year, we invested a very small amount of money in a funnel, which proved to make filling the jars a dream, with no sticky messes that needed to be cleaned off the jars. What a simple joy! Roll on the Christmas season, when we can distribute dozens of jars of the matured chutney, and eat cheese, chutney and crackers to our heart's content.

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