This is the 7th of the courgette recipes this week and you may well be getting a little tired of courgettes by now but I promise you will be glad of them later in the year so it is worth finding a way to preserve some.
You can freeze courgettes but I am not a fan. Slice small courgettes and spread out on a tray in a single layer. Place the whole tray in the freezer. Once frozen, put all the slices into a plastic bag, seal and replace in the freezer until needed. By freezing in this way you can remove just as much or little as you need each time. You can use the courgettes up in soups and stews but the texture is a little odd if you try to do much else. Larger courgettes with their higher water content really don’t freeze well at all and are quite mushy when thawed. Alternatively you could make a ratatouille and freeze that.
I much prefer to preserve my courgettes in a chutney. Making chutney is such a wonderful experience – I find the chopping very therapeutic and, as the chutney heats up, your whole house will be filled with a wonderfully heady aroma; rich, sweet and spicy with an almost elusive top note of vinegary sharpness. The pleasure of preserving in this way is compounded when I place the finished jars into the cupboard; somehow laying down food for the winter gives me the same feeling of security that I get from a full log store.
This recipe is sweet and fruity with a slightly spicy base note but it’s not hot – you could add a chilli if you want to give it a little kick. If you have made too much (I’m not actually sure if that is possible!) it makes a lovely gift for friends.
The photos I have taken are of the fresh chutney because I have only just made it. I’ll add some more photos once it has matured so that you can see the difference.
Once it has matured it tastes wonderful with cooked meats or cheeses.
1 lb /500g Tomatoes
1 lb / 500g Courgettes
2 medium sized Bramley Apples
A thumb sized piece of Root Ginger
4 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 lb / 250g Demerara Sugar
1/2 pint / 300ml White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
2 tsp Mixed Spice
Chop the onions, tomatoes, courgettes and apples into similar sized pieces. I quite like a chunky, rustic chutney so tend to chop roughly and in largish pieces but you may prefer a more refined end result; if so dice accordingly. Put into a large, heavy based pan.
Crush the garlic and grate the ginger and add to the fruit and vegetables in the pan along with the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and mixed spice. Mix well.
Heat gently, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the chutney mix is simmering and the sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered for 2 hours until it looks thick and dark like chutney .
Pour into sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place. The chutney will be ready for eating in 2 to 3 weeks but will improve with age. It will keep, unopened, for months or even years because sugar and vinegar are powerful preservatives but once opened keep it in the fridge and use within a few weeks.
Look here for more courgette recipes.
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