The Do Book Company publishes a series of titles meant to motivate people to try new things. The latest, Do Preserve, instructs on how to make jams, chutneys, pickles and cordials. Coauthor Mimi Beaven features preserved products, along with the spoils of her picturesque Little Ghent Farm in upstate New York (think chickens, pork sausage, eggs and fresh-baked breads), and here shares her knowledge in the form of a recipe that’ll make a perfect addition to your cheese plate or for a spread of homemade Indian food.
This is a fruity chutney with a delicate warmth from the ginger. It is an onion-free recipe, which allows the pear to shine. Very ripe, soft pears should ideally be used for this chutney, but I have used hard pears before and they work fine. However, they will need mashing with a potato masher at the very end to break the flesh down a little.
Store in a cool, dark place. This chutney needs to mature a little in the jar, so I would suggest keeping it for three months before opening. Keeps well for up to two years. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within three months.
- 3 lemons, finely sliced, seeds discarded
- 4 1/2 pounds ripe pears
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup ginger, peeled and grated finely
- 1 3/4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the chutney
Chop the lemon slices into small bits, place them in a small pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, discard the water and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil again and simmer for 10-15 minutes, by which time all the bitterness should have come out of the lemons and the rind should be soft. Drain off the water.
Place all the ingredients (including the lemon) in a large pan and slowly bring the mixture to the boil, stirring from time to time. Simmer for about 2 hours. It is ready when a spoon dragged along the bottom of the pan leaves a clear streak (i.e. the vinegar doesn't run back in straightaway).
Pack the hot chutney into sterilized jars and seal.