Fermentation and pickling seems very ‘of the moment’ but these process are far from a whimsical trend, they are a failsafe way of making the most of a crop and help to extend the season. Chutney is one of the most-loved preserving techniques.
The mix of sweet and sour flavours is a wonderful pairing with cheese and cold meats, and is a simple way to enhance basic meals like sandwiches or quiche. Apples are one crop that preserves well. In this recipe the sweet apple flavour benefits from the tang of the tamarind, the sour pulp extracted from the bean of the tamarind tree.
Take 1tbsp of dried pickling spices (a mix of mustard seeds, dried chillies, cloves, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, coriander)
450g onions, finely chopped
300ml white vinegar
900g cooking apples (weight when peeled and cored)
5cm lump dried tamarind
350g soft light brown sugar
1 walnut-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
6 fresh red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
1tsp mustard seeds
sea salt and pepper.
Makes approx five medium (350ml) jars.
Put the pickling spices in a small square of fabric and tie up.
Soak the tamarind in a cup of boiling water.
Gently simmer the onions with half the vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan for 10 minutes.
Peel, core and chop the apples into 2cm cubes and add to the pan with the rest of the vinegar, the spices, raisins, sugar, ginger, chillies, mustard seeds, a little sea salt and pepper.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Rub the softened tamarind through a sieve with a wooden spoon straight into the pan. Stir well.
Cook for about 45 minutes at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to get a thick jam-like texture.
Remove from the heat and spoon into hot sterilised jars.
Cover with waxed paper discs, seal and store in a dark cupboard for at least a month.