Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jam-a-pa-loo-za (featuring chutney gluttony)

 The results of an afternoon spent canning.

The plan: Pear Chutney, Brandied Cherries, Ginger-Grape Jam, Tomato Jam (two versions), Current Jelly.

The setting: A sunny kitchen on Minnesota's Iron Range.

The players: Five women in need of a late winter pick-me-up.

We gathered on Saturday with fresh gingerroot and other spices; garden and farmstand cherries, grapes and tomatoes still colorful and flavorful after several months in the freezer; and a collection of various sizes and shapes of jars along with the kettles and other paraphernalia necessary for a fun afternoon of canning and catching up.

Pear Chutney was new to me and highly anticipated. Here's the recipe:

Golden Pear Chutney
3 pounds hard, underripe pears, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 6 cups)
3 cups light or dark brown sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/4 pound crystallized ginger, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Quatre-Epices
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup light raisins
2 cups chopped onion
1 lemon, peeled and thinly sliced
Cook the pears in water to cover until they are medium-soft. Drain, saving the water, then make a syrup of the water in which the pears were cooked and the brown sugar by boiling in a large nonreactive pot until thick, about 20 to 30 minutes. While the syrup is boiling, add the remaining ingredients to the pears, then mix everything together and cook for about 30 minutes or until the raisins are softened, the onions are transparent, and the chutney has a good thick consistency. Transfer to sterilized jars and seal; process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

Chopped pears, lemon, onion and raisins ready for canning.

Ladling the cooked ingredients into clean, warm jars.

Adjusting the water level in the pot.

Steam rises from the canner.


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