When I as growing up, my mum used to make all sorts of jams, pickles, chutneys and other sweet and savoury jarred delights. It was completely normal to me, to come home to find her brewing up a pot full of bubbling berries or to walk into the kitchen only to be hit in the face by the kick of boiling vinegar! I’ll never forget that! Preserving has been a way of life, as we would grow as much produce as we could in our back garden and store it in many exciting forms as the abundance flowed. Any one who has grown their on tomatoes, courgettes, berries, apples, will know that once they start producing, you end up with more that you can ever eat in one day! That’s where preserving comes in and you soon find yourself on the constant (amazing!) lifestyle of sowing, growing, picking and pickling!
Having seen this way of life my whole life, it seems natural to me to follow in its well trodden garden path. I have been growing fruits and vegetables of my own ever since having my own garden in our home here in Norfolk. It is a wild space of green and colorful flowers which come up whether I want them to or not, and after spending a short period of time wishing I could get my ‘control’ over it, I ‘ve come to realise that it is perfect just as it is. With all its diversity, all the different plants come to live together in their own little community, where the un-touchable stinging nettle abodes next to the soft gentle clover, and the self-reliant wild mint smothers the softly-spoken forget-me-nots. It’s all part of the diversity of life, the way my garden grows and a constant reminder that we cannot control life as much as we try.
Anyway, preserving! What a wonderful way of storing the seasons into a beautiful jar it is! Looking into my pantry and seeing my colourful collection of jars makes me very happy indeed. Whereas I saw my mum making jams made with heapings of sugar, boiling up bottles full of sauces and pickling in malt vinegar, I have gone down my own path of finding ways to preserve using healthy sugars and natural fermentation. Fermenting foods has been done for centuries and would have been ho we kept all of our precious crops before we had refrigerators, refined sugars or pasturisers! Having experimented with various ferments over the past few years, I came to writing this Ebook with the lovely talented Amy Leven earlier this year. If you want some in depth serious fermentation facts and crazy creative recipes then check it out! For now, I’d like to share with you a few of my latest creation that I have been making over the past months. All are super easy to make and use local, seasonal English produce. Lets kick it off with my favourite latest creation, a sweet and spicy apple chutney!
This recipe was inspired by an amazing trip to Vancouvers hottest raw food restaurant, Gorilla Foods. Aaron the owner glows every ounce of living vibration that the place emanates itself, having more energy than any other cafe owner I’ve met before! There I sampled their ‘jungle slaw’ which had the most tangy, sweet and sour flavour behind it I just had to know what it was! Years later, on the arrival of Aarons first raw-food recipe book, I found his own recipe for ‘raisin chutney’ with which this recipe of mine was inspired.It is not fermented, just simply soaked in a mixture of raw apple cider vinegar (which is naturally fermented) and spices. Any chutney addict ( I know many!) loves this and can’t believe that they have been spending hours boiling and bottling up cooked chutneys for so long! This is also amazing with my Bread of Life.
Sweet, sour and spicy chutney
Makes 1 500ml jar
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apple rings, chopped
1/4 cup Goji berries
1 small courgette, very finely diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1″ fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
pinch of sea salt
In a large bowl, place the raisins, goji berries and dried apple and cover with the vinegar. Leave to soak for at least 4 hours or up to over night, until the fruit is plump.
Place half of the soaked fruit into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the blended mixture back into the bowl with the remaining whole fruit. Add the finely chopped courgette, grated ginger and garlic and salt and chilli. Mix well, and pack the chutney mixture into a clean jar. Push the contents down with a spoon; the liquid should rise to the top a little.
Leave the jar out of the fridge for a few days for the courgette to soften and flavours mingle, then store in the fridge for up to 3 months. Serve with your choice of cheese and crackers, on burgers or mixed with grated cabbage and root veggies.