A rainy day is the ideal opportunity to stay in and make the most of the pears from the trees in the back garden. I decided to combine them with pineapple for a spicy chutney to serve with curries. A dry orange also went in, the sort that turns out to be a disappointment when you cut into it and find no juice. Rather than throw it away, I saved it for the chutney.
I followed the basic formula that I have adapted from a recipe in a 1930s cookery book, namely:-
1 pint white vinegar
4lbs any fruit and/or vegetables you like
8oz any dried fruit you like
a quarter of a teaspoon of salt
any spices and/or herbs you like
To speed up the cooking, I chopped up the pineapple, orange, pears and onions and left them overnight in the saucepan with the sugar. This extracts the juice and firms up the fruit and prevents it disintegrating during cooking. For the dried fruit I used apricots, and cut them up and left them to soak in the vinegar overnight. The next day I added the apricots and vinegar to the pan, together with crystallised ginger and spices (much the same spices as in the mango chutney I made last year). After a long slow cook, with the lid off it to allow evaporation, it had reduced down to the right consistency and was ready to pot up. It came to 3 small jars, 3 large jars, and a tiny bit left over which is now in the fridge ready for us to try when we have a curry.
The longer you leave chutney, the better it tastes, so ideally we shouldn't open a jar until about Christmas. I'm looking forward to it already!