Thursday, 14 August 2008

Credit crunch cooking no. 2 - fruit bowl chutney

Those who know me have sometimes heard me complaining about how wasteful society generally is with food. Millions of tonnes of usable food is thrown away every year. We pay through our taxes for waste to be collected and pay for it to be dumped in landfill (which produced methane, a far stronger greenhouse gas than CO2) or incinerated. There is of course the option of composting it but it still seems to be a terrible waste.

And of course, we paid good money to buy the food in the first place. Fruit is one type of food that is amongst the most common to be thrown away.

There's no need to throw away fruit just because it is looking a bit bashed, gone too soft or looks past its best. One of the best uses for fruit that would otherwise be thrown out is to make it into chutney.

So here is my next credit crunch cooking recipe: fruit bowl chutney.

There is no fixed recipe to this. But the following is what we used to make 10 jars of chutney over the weekend:
6 bananas
5 apples
5 pears
400g of raisins
200ml red wine vinegar
200g brown sugar
one teaspoon allspice
2 star anise

Chop the fruit and add to the pan with the raisins.
Stir and put some heat under the pan.
Add the all spice and star anise (not vital but adds that extra bit of spicey taste) and stir in. (You can add a bit of cinnamon bark if available)
As it starts to warm up, add the vinegar.
When it's got to a reasonable temperature, stir in the sugar.
Stir regularly and bring to boil.
Keep it simmering away for about an hour, long enough to boil off the excess liquid.
Remove any star anise and cinnamon bark and add to warm jars.
Store for at least a month before using.

This chutney goes well with sausages, burgers etc. Much better than ketchup so you can cross that off you shopping list! And its a great way to use up food that would otherwise end up in the bin or compost heap.

No comments: