Thursday, 24 July 2014

Gooseberry and date chutney ,haymaking day 4 and apologies

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, I specially liked dc and the predictive text which turned Bolthardy beetroot into Bowl Tardy, that's how I shall think of it from now on.

Apologies for misleading everyone as I made a mistake the other day because I said the giant round bales that you see on fields waiting to be picked up are called Hestons but actually it's the massive oblong ones that have that name and the big round ones? no idea what proper name they have. Just Big Round Bales. I think farmers bale different shaped bales depending on whats going to happen to them next. A lot of the straw baled here goes off on big lorries across the country to places where they don't grow as much wheat and round bales are often wrapped in plastic for silage.  I prefer the old fashioned small ones that can be picked up and moved by hand. We will do our 2 acres into small bales and they will go in the barn and be ready to sell to Kate for her goats.

Because they are a rare occurrence  we want to put lots of apricots in the freezer but the freezer is getting rather full so I thought I would get the big bag of gooseberries out and make some chutney.

Gooseberry and Date Chutney

2lb gooseberries, topped and tailed
6oz dates, chopped
12oz chopped onions
1lb soft dark brown sugar
1tsp mustard seed
pinch cayenne
4 tsp salt
1 pint malt vinegar

Put everything into the pan and bring to the boil slowly, stirring to dissolve sugar.

 Boil gently  uncovered for approx 1 and a half hours. The gooseberries should be thoroughly pulped and the mixture should be thick and pulpy but not dry.

 This makes a lovely dark fruity chutney, I did a double batch in separate pans and then tipped them in together just before potting up.
A good way to check on a chutney being ready is to quickly pull a wooden flat edged jam  spoon across the bottom of the pan, if you get a glimpse of the metal base then probably enough liquid has been cooked off so  the chutney is thick enough to pot up.
I had to get C to take this picture as it's impossible to stir and click at the same time!
Chutney usually thickens up a bit as it cools.

Day 4 of haymaking was the same as day 3. C turning the hay on all 4 fields. He got a puncture in the small wheel of the hay turner so had to come home and fix it, but luckily he was only up the road. He says the field at Saxmundham is ready to bale tomorrow. It's on a south facing slope and gets very hot.
It will take a bit longer here at home.

Much warmer here today, not such a strong Easterly wind, in fact you could say the heat was

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