Until recently I hadn't seen greengages for more than fifteen years. Now you may say that I didn't try very hard but time was when they would have been in every greengrocers. I suppose that is part of the problem - there are very few greengrocers left. A great many of the old trees have been grubbed out and we are left with very expensive fruit from France.
Not so the greengages that I tracked down in North Norfolk recently. Straight from the orchard, perfectly ripe, looking - and tasting - just as I remembered.
Beautiful, golden Greengage Jam - delicious
The jars that I use for this product are the 212 chutney! It is just a nice size and takes my labels very well - equally good for home use
Just a question of fitting the lids on loosely and then waterbathing in a pan of boiling water for around 40 minutes. Have the water over the top of the jars if possible - when ready, lift out with jar tongs and tighten the lids. Don't worry if the level of the liquid has dropped - it is just that the fruit has poached in the hot bath and takes up less room. The air will have been forced out during the process and the contents will now be vacuum packed. Leave to cool overnight and then wash the jars off with warm water before labelling. Store out of strong light and enjoy spooned over a rich rice pudding, ice cream or as a delicious crumble.
Greengage Leather - top: the pulp ready to go into the dryer
bottom: the leather rolled up swiss-roll style and then sliced ready to be packed in jars or cellophane bags.
Finally, finally . . . .Gingered Up Greengage Chutney, hot and fragrant, bursting with spices but still with the keynote flavour of the fruit - reminiscent of vanilla. There is no doubt that greengages lend themselves to sweet preparation but make just one batch of this chutney to enjoy with cheese or cold meats and you won't be disappointed.
My jars for chutneys are the 284 Chutney - mainly because they match the smaller version I use for jams and more expensive products. You can see here me making up the spice bag then cooking the chutney, removing the stones - all 127 of them - and the final jars. Beautiful, beautiful greengage chutney. Let us hope it isn't fifteen years before I see some more!
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