Friday, 22 January 2010


Yesterday we tackled pickles and chutneys, the final stage in our Ministry of Food project - pickled onions, pickled beetroot and red tomato chutney. There wasn't a dry eye in the house...

With five of us involved, there was a lot going on at once. Skinning tomatoes, chopping onions, boiling and slicing beetroot. I'd brined the raw onions a couple of days before, so they were washed to remove the salt. The vinegar was simmered with a mix of pickling spice and we were set. Onions and beetroot were packed separately into jars and covered with vinegar. Hey presto!

Making the chutney took a bit longer with the chopping of the onions, apples and tomatoes, then long simmering with sultanas, sugar and vinegar until it reached a nice jammy consistency. We soon learnt that it is not sensible to get too close to the vinegary fumes unless you are prepared to weep - the dreaded "chutney eye". ( I don't think the doyenne of the wartime kitchen, Marguerite Patten, mentioned this hazard in her book - maybe we just didn't read that bit!)

It really is most satisfying to see the fruits of your endeavours lined up neatly. Now it's just a question of waiting a few weeks until the goods are properly mature and ready to eat. Not that anyone at the Imperial War Museum will be eating it when the exhibition opens on the 12th February...

I'm getting used to the smell of vinegar permeating the house. As for us, it's not true that we were pickled. Just happy with our evening's work.

1 comment:

  1. i've always enjoyed making my own storable food, especially since we are avid gardeners where we live - here is a photo you may like: quite different to your pickles, but one i rely on the whole winter