Chutneys are a great way to combine wild food with home grown produce. Every Autumn I have a huge surplus of runner beans and this is how I put them to good use:
Makes 5 medium sized jars.
- Three cornered garlic bulbs 25-30
- Malt vinegar 150ml
- Allspice berries 9
- Coriander seeds 1 tsp
- Garlic Mustard seeds 2 tsp
- Runner beans 750g
- English mustard powder 1 tbsp
- Wholegrain mustard 2 tsp
- Turmeric 2 tsp
- Cider vinegar 150ml
- Organic cane sugar 200g
- Salt 1 heaped tsp
- Tomatoes 300g
- Cornflour 30g
Peel and halve the three cornered garlic bulbs, put them into a medium-sized saucepan with the malt vinegar, coriander and Garlic Mustard seeds. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes.
String the beans, removing the stalks. Thinly slice each bean, cutting diagonally to give fine shreds about 4 or 5cm long. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the beans and cook for a full minute. Drain and set aside.
Mix the mustards, turmeric, sugar, salt and half the cider vinegar in a small basin. Dice the tomatoes then add to the saucepan with the vinegar and garlic bulbs, stir in the beans and mustard mixture then add the remaining cider vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. The beans should be tender but don’t overcook – remember they will soften in the jars.
Remove a few spoonfuls of liquid and use it to mix the cornflour to a paste. Stir gently back into the beans. Leave to simmer for a minute or two until the mixture has thickened slightly. Ladle into warm, sterilised preserving jars and seal.
You could substitute the Garlic Mustard seeds for bought yellow mustard seeds as it is too late to forage your own seeds at this point in the year – I collect them during mid-late Summer and store for later use.
Three Cornered Garlic bulbs can be found all year round but you could use shallots or onions instead.
These vinegars were made from allotment black currants, foraged Blackberries and Elderberries. Last September I made enough Elderberry vinegar to last through the year and it’s proved to be one of my favourite kitchen ingredients.
- Raspberry vinegar can be used to deglaze cooking pans after sautéing lamb. The delicious fruitiness lifts the caramelised flavours off the bottom – no more scrubbing sticky pans!
- Add Elderberry vinegar to olive oil for a mouthwatering salad dressing, the perfect accompaniment to all your foraged salads.
- Elderberry vinegar is also particularly good with game.
- Make a refreshing cordial by adding vinegars to iced mineral or soda water.
- Lastly, surprisingly, vinegars work a treat drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
Full of vitamins, anti-oxidants and anthrocyanins, your fruit vinegars can help keep colds at bay throughout the winter months.
Vinegars still contain quite a lot of sugar – but less than things like jams, jellies and fruit leathers. Use unpasteurised apple cider vinegar in your recipes and you’ll be getting even more goodness.
More or less sugar can be used according to your preference. Add the sugar to taste when you heat your vinegar before bottling.
- Using less sugar means you’ll have a more vinegary tart flavour.
- Adding more sugar and you’ll end up with a more syrupy consistency.
Below is a basic recipe for making Elderberry vinegar which I’ve taken from Miles Irving’s excellent book The Forager Handbook. He credits the recipe to forager-herbalist Mandy Oliver. You can use the same method to make other fruit vinegars.
Elderberry vinegar recipe:
Freeze Elderberries then when you are ready to make your vinegar remove from the freezer, prizing them from their stalks using your fingers. Discard any that don’t look good.
Allow 500ml white wine or apple cider vinegar for 350g fruit. Add the vinegar to the fruit, leave covered for 3-5 days, stirring occasionally, then strain off the liquid.
Add 350g sugar per 260ml liquid, boil for 10 minutes then bottle in sterilised bottles.
You can try reducing some of the liquid for a further 10 minutes or so to make a balsamic glaze which is fantastic on deserts.