Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Runner Bean Chutney

You may remember that this year we have been growing our own veg and we have been overwhelmed with our runner beans - its like a jungle out there! So, ever one for a bit of thrift, I decided that instead of letting them go to waste I would make them into a chutney and ,hey presto, I would have used the runner beans up and made some lovely home made pressies which will be ready in time for Christmas! Until I googled chutney I had no idea how to make one or how popular they are. In fact there are whole sites dedicated to them. Chutney is a great way to use up and preserve fruit and veg at the end of the growing season and there are chutney recipes for everything from apples to tomatos. It also keeps for a good few years. Some seasoned chutney eaters say its still fine after 10 years although I'm not sure if I would be brave enough for that.

It was also really cost effective. I used old jam jars (cleaned and sterilised) and after adding up all the ingredients it came to £1.30 per jar which, when you compare it with some deli style chutneys which retail for up to £4, I think its a real bargain. I used some jam jar toppers and labels to make them look extra pretty but you could use tissue paper for the lids and plain white labels instead. If you had some small individual jam jars you could put some of the chutney in them to give as a gift with a nice chunk of cheese.

I chose the below recipe from Delia Smith for my runner bean chutney as her recipes are always reliable and tasty. Although you are meant to wait at least a month to let the chutney mature we did have some with sausages and mash and it was surprisingly delicious!

Runner Bean Chutney (makes approx 6 jars)
You can sterilise the jars by washing them in hot soapy water and putting in a medium oven for 10 minutes

2lb runner beans (trimmed)
700g chopped onions
850ml malt vinegar
40g cornflour
1 heaped tablespoon mustard powder
1 rounded tablespoons turmeric
225g soft brown sugar
450g demerara sugar

First of all put the chopped onions and 275ml of the vinegar into a large casserole dish or saucepan and and bring them up to simmering point - let them simmer gently for about 20 mins.
Whilst the onions are simmering cook the runner beans in boiling water for 5 mins. Then strain them and add to the onions.
In a small basin mix the cornflour, mustard and turmeric and add a little bit of vinegar just enough to make a smooth paste.
Add the paste to the beans and onions mix in and add the rest of the vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Then add both quantities of sugar stirring until they dissolve and continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Pot the pickle into warmed sterilised jars and seal. Keep in a cool dark place for at least a month before eating!

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