Summer Preserved

What a warm welcome back. Thank you so much. It is very good to be back.

Damsons and tattered sweet peas from the farm shop

While I wasn't blogging I was still doing all the things I blog about. One of those things is preserving.
I have to make damson gin and damson chutney every year. Have to. 

Damson gin in progress
Damson gin recipe here.  Damson chutney recipe here.

This year I also made some tomato and red pepper chutney which has turned out very well. The recipe is from my trusty Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Preserving with some tweaks of my own. Excellent in a cheese sandwich.

Tomato and Red Pepper Chutney

Makes about 4lb (1.8kg) - you could easily make half this amount.

4 lb (1.8kg) tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1lb (450g) onions, chopped
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 red peppers, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 pint (570ml) vinegar I used cider vinegar
8oz (225g) demerara sugar I doubt using white sugar will make much difference

2 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli powder

Put everything in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or preserving pan.
Heat gently to dissolve the sugar then simmer for about 1½ hours or until it is thick and chutney-like. The usual test is to see if you can scrape a clear channel across the bottom of the pan, a parting of the chutney waves. This is quite a runny chutney though, because of the juiciness of the tomatoes.

When ready pot into warm sterilised jars. We made a start on ours almost immediately but all chutneys benefit from a few weeks maturing.

For an all-purpose chutney formula to make use of whatever you have try Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's glutney. I made a quince and pumpkin version of this a few years ago which was good but not very popular with my household, besides tomatoes and peppers are a lot easier to chop than quinces and pumpkins.

This year's currant harvest was much better than last year's. I had a good amount of black, red and white currants. I put them all in the freezer while I decided what to do with them and after much consulting of fancy dessert recipes I made the whole lot into jam. Mixed currant jam.

 I reckon we have enough jam to last until next summer .

Apologies for the reuse of some of my instagram photos I like to keep instagram pictures and blog pictures different but I haven't been using my proper camera while I've been away, something I must get back into the habit of doing.


  1. Currant jam - fabulous.
    Don't forget to steep your drunken damsons, around December, a second time in sherry.

  2. Lovely to hear from you Sue! I was thinking about you the other day so I was very pleased to see your post pop up. Good to know that you have had a good summer and enjoyed your preserving as always. xx

  3. What I like a lot is the little pictures on your labels. They are artful, in its very best sense, and convey the happiness of making the jam and chutney. No label of mine shall henceforth go unillustrated.

  4. A belated welcome back. I do love a good autumn harvest.

  5. I've just come across this recipe, Sue - if you've any jam jars left! I doubt I'll get hold of enough quinces, but it sounds interesting - quince and rowan. (You need to scroll down.) http://www.gravetyemanor.co.uk/news/kitchen-news

  6. I love making chutney, even if it makes the whole house smell of vinegar. You don't have to worry about a chutney setting or not.

  7. Vicarious enjoyment. Thanks for the inspiration. Love the hand-doodled labels.

  8. I am so very glad to see you back. It's the turning of the year that I like to see at The Quince Tree

  9. I always loved seeing the inside of your jam cupboard Sue. The chutneys sounds delicious. Haven't had chutney for years, but I did used to love it when I was little. I really must have a go at making some. CJ xx

  10. Well. You have returned. Hello there.
    Glad to see that nothing has changed...

  11. Delicious looking sandwich, I must give chutney making a go. And such a treat to see the Quince Tree in the inbox!

  12. I am so glad to see you blogging again. I enjoy your kitchen adventures. Welcome back.

  13. So glad to see you back. I have a freezer drawer full of fruit. Inspired to make jam in the morning. Happy blogging.

  14. Sue, when I get up tomorrow morning and butter my toast, and add some store bought jam, I will be wishing that I were lucky enough to be tasting some of your current jam.

    Or might actually get around to trying my own hand (and little kitchen) at jamming.


  15. Good to see you back Sue. And good to get a decent chutney recipe - maybe this year I'll actually get round to making some for Christmas presents...

  16. What a perfect thing, home made preserves. I really should get back into all this, I'd forgotten how much I loved making my own...

  17. Anonymous8:49 am BST

    Hooray! You've slid back into Bogland while I wasn't looking! Very pleased to see you here again...

  18. oMG, you are back!!! So glad you are back, Sue. I hadn't seen your previous post but earlier today I bought some damsons at my local grocers and I decided to pop back to your blog in search for the recipe, which I have religiously followed ever since you talked about damsons here. To my surprise I realised you were back and I felt happy! It is lovely and comforting to see you have kept the same format and content that we so much love. I hope you've had a lovely "off-blog" time and you enjoy this new phase....
    Pati xx

  19. I am so glad you're back I thought you'd gone forever and I was very sad.

  20. Welcome back!

  21. Hello there, made my very first ever chutney last night (not a rugby fan!). Used your red pepper/tomato recipe. The result is superb! Everyone loves it. My mistake though was buying jars a bit on the big size - could've filled twice as many smaller ones. Tomorrow I'm trying a recipe for green tomatoes which we have a glut of. New to your blog and enjoying catching up.

  22. Welcome back. Beautiful colours in your photos - it all looks delicious x

  23. Nice to see you back. Love the plum pics - gorgeous colours.

  24. I am so glad you are back.
    I do so love to see your pictures and follow along with you during the changing of the seasons.
    And jam. I love looking at your jams.

  25. I am very fond of this time of the year. I love the kind of cooking I do in autumn/winter, and I am getting back into the swing of preserving, having made seville orange and ginger marmalade in March, and about to turn the blackberries I picked yesterday into blackberry gin. We don;t grow fruit but I'll be buying damsons at the market on Tuesday and follow your recipe for damson chutney I think. Somehow, it feels quite comforting and calming looking at those photographs of yours, I really am so pleased you are back!

  26. That looks like a good tomato chutney recipe. I have sooo many tomatoes to use and this would be a good way to do it. Also got tons (not literally) of blackcurrants in the freezer. I make a lot of cordial as I find we just don't eat that much jam.

  27. Anonymous3:35 pm BST

    It all looks SO scrumptious and I found out the Damsons here in Denmark are ripe so will try make the gin this year. :)


  28. I thought of you when I was making chutney recently and wished that you would come back to blogging. Today I found that you have. I'm glad!


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