This lovely pickle is a fantastic way to use various summer veg gluts, and overgrown courgettes are one of my favourites. You can alter the recipe according to what you have, and chop and change the spices to suit your taste, too. Makes about 10 jars.
1kg courgettes, unpeeled if small, peeled if huge, cut into 1cm dice (or use pumpkin later in the season)
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped (or 1kg plums, stoned and chopped)
1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced
500g sultanas or raisins
500g light brown sugar
750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
For the spice bag
1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 black peppercorns
1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds
A few blades of mace
Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.
Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.
Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.
Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving. ·