Friday, 26 June 2015

Pear and Ginger Chutney

From the genus 'Pyrus', the same family as the rose, comes this hugely adaptable and delicious fruit - the pear. Each and every variety having their own special uses. They are low GI, average less than 60 calories and dentists prefer them to apples, (less acid). If you want to know more, check out this great Australian Pear web site.

After buying quite a few locally grown pears and finding my chutney shelf pretty empty, I thought it was time to get out the jam pot.  Sweet, gooey and dripping in a dark spiced syrup was the result of two and a half hours of cooking up a mixture of pears, dried fruit and spices. If you were to close your eyes and just take in the aroma you might find yourself on a magic carpet drifting over the Middle East and the souks of Dubai or Iran.

This chutney has all the ingredients for something very special and believe me in earlier years it would have been deemed so precious, people would have traded it as currency! I'm thinking I could eat it by itself on a piece of fresh bread or served with a delicious cheese platter. Needless to say, once you have tasted it I am sure you will have your own ideas on how to serve it.

Pear and Ginger Chutney


2.5 kilos pears peeled and chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1.5 cup raisins or sultanas
4 cups sugar
1 cup crystallised ginger, chopped
2 cups vinegar - I used a mix of malt and white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon each salt, cloves, and allspice
2 cinnamon sticks

Mix all the ingredients together and simmer uncovered for around 2 - 3 hours on a very low heat. The mixture should be dark brown, thick and very syrupy.
 This dish is quite sweet and teems very well with cheese. The sweetness of the syrup is  cut by the spices and the tartness of the vinegar.
Once the chutney has cooled a little, remove the cinnamon sticks and bottle as for jam. (See my post on Cherry Jam for instructions on).

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