Tag Archives: spicy

Spicy Quince Apple Chutney

Early October I paid a visit to Nissleys, a favorite local vineyard.  While taking the self-guided tour of the grounds and winery, I ended up getting into a conversation with one of the horticulturists; it was bound to happen, he was wearing a tie-dye shirt and I had on a patchwork skirt.  We talked about stink bugs, a new species of fruit fly, and of course, food preservation.  Turns out he knew a jam guru that puts up thousands of jars a year.  Wow!  While trading insider tips, we ended up on the subject of quince.  I had never seen a quince, let alone worked with one, but it just so happened they were about to go into season!

Quince are a green fruit with a flavor combination similar to an apple and a pear.

Ten minutes after arriving home I was on the phone with my local orchards.  Jack pot!  Cherry Hill had them and they would be ready for harvest in about a week.  This gave me plenty of time for a bit of recipe research!

Spicy Quince Apple Chutney

2 lbs quince, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1″ pieces.  THAT was the biggest pain in my a$$!  Of course, the very next day I happened upon this tutorial.  Thank you Murphy.  You and your law can suck it!  :/

4 lbs tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped  (I used a mix of Winesap and Honey Crisp.)

3/4 cup water

3 Tbsp grapeseed oil

2 Tbsp mustard seeds

2 Tbsp cracked black pepper  (I used whole peppercorns and my mortar and pestle for this task.)

1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tsp turmeric

half bulb of garlic, minced

3″ piece of ginger, grated

5 Chinese 5-color peppers, seeded and minced  (They are a very small, hot pepper I grew this year.)

2 purple beauty peppers, seeded and chopped

2 cups cider vinegar

1 Tbsp pickling salt

2-1/3 cups light brown sugar

Place quince and water into a medium pot and bring to a simmer; cook covered until soft.  This took me about 40 minutes, but may take as little as 20 minutes or as long as 90, so don’t wonder too far!  Strain and set aside.

While your quince are cooking, begin to prep your remaining ingredients.  Once your ginger is grated, garlic is minced, etc, add the oil to a large sauce pot and turn the heat to med.  Add the mustard seeds and cook ’til they begin to pop.  Add the remaining spices (except for the salt) and stir constantly for 2 minutes.  Important PSA: Keep your face AWAY from the spicy steam unless you enjoy lung-burning, tear-induced, coughing fits, that hinder one’s ability to to breathe for the next 2 minutes.  I’m just sayin’.

Add garlic, ginger, and peppers, cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in the apples and mix well, then add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and quince.

Stir the chutney, combining all the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  If your chutney is thickening too fast, add a bit of water.

When you have about 30 minutes remaining on your chutney, begin preparing your jars.  Keep hot, sterilized jars in a warm oven (200°F) until you are ready to ladle in your chutney, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, add two-piece adjustable lids to fingertip-tight, and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes, or for your recommended altitude processing time.

H2H’s recipe yielded her 8 half-pints, I ended up with 14!  I did not change any quantities; however, I used an apple peeler which resulted in a less chunky 4 lbs of apples.  The end result was delicious and I’ve been enjoying it paired up with pan-fried crispy tofu!!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Hitchhiking to Heaven.

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Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Chutney, Vegan, Vegetarian

Patiently waiting for my food to evolve.

Lacto-fermentation is a method of food preservation where lactic acid is produced by good bacteria.  Not only will lactobacillus keep food perfectly preserved, but this process also increases the vitamin content, while promoting the growth of healthy flora in your intestines, allowing for ease in digestion.

LACTIC ACID

Of all the organic acids, lactic acid is the one that best inhibits the proliferation of bacteria that cause putrefaction, but it does not bring about in the body the over-acidifying action of certain other acids….While other products of the fermentation process, like alcohol and acetic acid, must be decomposed and eliminated, lactic acid can in large part be used by the body…. Organic acids present in fermented milk and vegetable products play an important role in the health of old people as they aid a digestive system
that is growing more and more feeble…. After two or three days of lacto-fermentation, vegetables begin to soften and certain substances
in them begin to decompose. If the vegetables contain nitrates—often the case after a summer with little sun—they are broken down….If all goes well,
the lactic-acid producing bacteria take over and the process of acidification begins. New substances are formed, notably…choline and, above all, lactic
acid. This acidification ensures the conservation of the vegetables…but the fermentation of the aromas doesn’t come about until a later stage, during storage. Lacto-fermentation is not only a means of conserving
foods but also a procedure for ennobling them, as proved by their taste and aroma.— Annelies Schoneck, Des Crudités Toute L’Année

Several well-known lacto-fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles.  Canned pickles, however, are not the result of lacto-fermentation since the bacteria is killed during water-bath processing.  Also, the brine resulting from lacto-fermentation will become cloudy, canned pickles maintain a clear brine (unless you have added spices that muddy up the brine).

The following recipe is by far my absolute FAVORITE pickle.  Ever.  Last year’s batch lasted through February; so not long enough!  This year I plan on making several gallons in hopes of stretching out their tasty consumption well into next Spring!

Cajun Pickles – adapted from the Pickle People

8 cups cold water
1/2 cup pickling salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons pickling spice
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I have my own *special* blend)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
50 finger-sized pickling cucumbers (about 4 pounds) or 17 medium cucumbers, disked (I make both) **see bottom for note**
6 cherry peppers, thinly sliced (don’t seed)
6 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced (don’t seed)
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

Combine water, salt, vinegar, and seasonings; stir until salt is dissolved.  Pack cucumbers, cherry peppers, jalapenos, garlic, and onion into a gallon  jar.  You can also use 4 quart jars,  just divide peppers, onion and garlic evenly among them.  Ladle in spiced brine, covering vegetables.  Place lid(s) on jar(s) and let pickles ferment at cool room temperature for 3 days.  Refrigerate another 5 days; for those who want it and want it now, the pickles are ready to eat.  I always allow mine ferment for at least 1-2 months, so the brine can really develop.

The batch pictured above was made using whole cucumbers and my Chinese 5 color peppers.  This is my first year growing that variety of hot pepper, so I am very anxious to taste them!

**When using whole cucumbers, trim the blossom end by 1/16″, since the blossom may contain an enzyme that encourages excessive softening.

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Filed under Pickling, Vegan, Vegetarian