We live with lots of fruit trees and have a normally abundant vegetable garden. This time of year everything decides to be ready at the same time and I can’t keep up. Out our lounge window I can see a pear tree loaded with dropping ripe pears. Birds – native wax eyes and fantails as well as black birds and sparrows, wasps, chickens, local neighbourhood cats and various insect life are attracted by all this action. Great ways for the children to learn about nature, food, counting, colours and who knows what else without leaving the comfort of the lounge. Surely that mess outside is good for something. Its just a matter of perspective!
Yesterday this children and I went and competed with the bugs, birds, bees and chickens for the ripe fallen fruit below. We collected pears, golden peaches and apples and chopped them all up to make peach chutney. I thought the recipe (found by my husband’s grandmother) was great as it used all the types of fruit found falling across the property. Plus the fruit is so organic that you have to use it the same day or day after or it goes off. I hate to see things go to waste, so knowing I had a use for the fruit that I hadn’t got to yet gave me a satisfaction of ticking something off the list! I’m such a task person.
The girls loved standing on their chairs in the kitchen putting small bits of fruit into the big pot and their mouths. Then competing to put large spoonfuls of various spices and vinegars found in our pantry in and mix it up, flicking bits of it across the bench and throwing them back in. They were quite proud of the result, that they ate on toast with cheese for lunch today. It is sweet chutney. Here’s the recipe, although I didn’t stick to it all together and substituted a lot because we didn’t have sufficient quantities of everything.
- 1kg ripe peaches
- 1/2kg ripe pears
- 1/2kg cooking apples
- 1 large mango
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6cm piece ginger, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
Halve, stone or core and chop the peaches, pears and apples into 3cm pieces. Peel, stone and chop the mango. Put all the fruit into a large pan.
Stir the sugar, vinegar, onions, ginger, garlice, mustard seeds, coriander, chilli flakes and salt into the pan, then drop the cinnamon stick on top. Heat slowly for about 20 minutes, giving an occasional stir, until the sugar has dissolved.
Leave the chutney to simmer without a lid, stirring occasionally until it has reduced and thickened (about 1 1/2 hours). Discard the cinnamon stick. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.