Saturday, 20 August 2016

Runner bean & fruit chutney

Runner bean & fruit chutney

With the colossal amount of Runner Beans this year we're having to find ways of dealing with them. Some we sell on the market stall, some we eat, some we will no doubt freeze but that still leaves an awful lot of beans to deal with. 

We made a dozen jars, of varying size, of Runner Bean Pickle last week. It was OK but the final texture was wrong. A bit runny, perfectly OK but rather too thin on the liquid side so this week I was determined to do better. Although the pickle was nice, and I sold a couple of jars, I wanted to liven it up a bit with some fruit.

I wanted to add raisins, but during today I had to stake some apple trees to support their branches and it became clear that some apples had to come off. They are sweet and juicy and although they are supposed to be ready in September the one I ate was perfect. This gave me another problem of what to do with them...some of them have gone into the Chutney. There was also the last few sticks of Rhubarb left in the fridge, they've gone a bit soft, and now added to the mix.

The Chutney started life as a standard Runner bean pickle / chutney recipe, the same as Judy's, but has now become Runner Bean and Fruit Chutney, although I'm torn between calling it Chutney or Sweet Pickle.

As you can see, I prefer chunky pieces rather than small and I'm rather chuffed with the texture. The Apple, Onions and Beans still have a little crunch to them and the sauce, although runny, is more of a thick gloop (technical term). It's perfect edible now without maturing and no doubt it'll improve with a few months under it's belt.

The five jars the recipe said that it would make has turned into 7 jars, 2 big, 2 small and 3 standard 1 lb jars.

I added 2 sticks of de-stringed Rhubarb, 4oz of Raisins and 3 medium apples. I never stick perfectly to a recipe and instead of 1.5 pints of Malt Vinegar I opted for White Wine Vinegar (only because I had it) which was left over from making the Runner bean pickle from last week. It's actually the juice I siphoned off of the runny batch so it already had Termeric in it as well as sugar. As for the Corn flour, Termeric and Mustard powder made into a paste, I doubled up on each because my recipe had this extra amount plus I was at the end of the Termeric jar so just tipped the rest in. 

What I have learnt from doing several Pickles and Chutneys now is that Onion, Vinegar and Sugar combined is such a powerful flavour that you can just guess the amounts and vary it enormously before you'll notice a difference. I think they are best added gradually as it all cooks and just keep tasting it and applying more to get the texture right.

There's the odd air pocket despite poking them with a needle type thing.

The size of the chunks can be seen compared to the tea spoon and the more I look at it the more I want a curry....

I still have 3kg of beans left in the fridge and what I am guessing will be another 10kg plus on the plants by the time they finish. So, more pickle or chutney variations are required if I am to deal with the glut.

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