At this time of year it's easy for those of us with preserving OCD to go a little crazy waiting for the Summer rush of fruits to arrive. It's a bit like having a baby - we've quite forgotten the manic marmalade season and are now ready for some more mayhem. We've checked our jar supply, there are enough lids, labels, and we're stockpiling sugar so we don't run out. What are we to make though? The rhubarb is starting to come in now - I don't know about you but rhubarb never quite presses my preserving buttons. Don't get me wrong - I do make stuff with it, lots of people like it - love it, but I'm not a fan.
I was filled with trepidation at the beginning of the week - Trev announced he was going to make a rhubarb crumble. 'Oh no!' I thought, dreading the acidy bite of the fruit only just masked by the lovely crumbly topping. Anyway, show willing, " Oh good, do you want me to help?" No, a recipe had been obtained from the internet and lo and behold a lovely crumble duly appeared. "This is absolutely delicious!" I said - and it was."What have you done to it? It's amazing!" "Oh I just put some sherry in with the rhubarb" What? "It said port, but I got to the sherry first - that's what it said in the recipe"
Well, whether it was that or some particularly fine rhubarb but it was so smooth and no trace of acidity - so sherry it is from now on. Our veg box has just arrived and I can see some rhubarb in there - Trev?
Anyway, back to preserving. I have been wanting to make a relish with carrots for some time and decided, as you do, that today was the day. Somebody asked for it ages ago as they had had a particularly tasty one in a sandwich from Marks & Spencers! So, I set to and with a little experimentation managed to produce some small jars of some rather delicious relish. From reading through my various recipe books it seems that carrots do not keep as long as other vegetables so I have put this in small jars with a 3 month shelf life.
It ended up as Gingered Up Carrot Relish and this is what I did.
I took 1 kg/2.2lbs fresh carrots and topped, tailed and peeled them. I grated them on a hand grater but you can use a processor if you have one.Peel and core two cooking apples and grate those as well.
In a heavy bottomed pan put 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed, 4 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds and 2 teaspoons cardomom seeds, taken from the pods. Put the pan over a low heat and just gently toast the seeds for a few minutes to release their oils. Add the carrots and the apple and stir to combine Pour in 240ml/8fl oz cider vinegar, the zest from 2 oranges and their juice, stir to combine. Cook for around 10 minutes over a low heat to soften the carrots and apple. Peel and finely chop a large piece - 5cm total - of fresh ginger and add it to the pan. Finally stir in 250g/9oz soft brown sugar. Stir again and cook over a low heat for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Now increase the heat slightly and cook on for about another 15 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid and until the mixture has become quite syrupy - then it is ready to jar up. I used quite small jars 125g/4 oz but as the mixture wouldn't pass through a funnel I had to spoon it in and it was quite a messy job. Fill the jars to the brim and wipe the jars clean before sealing tightly with a lid. Store somewhere cool and dark so that you don't lose the vibrant colour. I don't know what Marks and Spencer's tastes like but this is amazing, a real hit from the orange followed through with a lot of heat from the ginger. Enjoy.
Gingered Up Carrot Relish