What To Do With Two Pineapples and a Glut of Apples:
Pineapple Chilli Jam
Pineapple, Apple and Mustard Chutney (slow cooker option)
Apple Butter (slow cooker option)
I could pretend I am a thrifty farmer’s wife that sets down to preserving as soon as the trees on the land turn a glorious multicolour.
I could pretend I am a well-organised kitchen goddess that lovingly cooks home-made Christmas gifts weeks ahead as a matter of course.
The truth is less angelic.
Having been tempted to the dark side by a Camembert, I chickened out of a healthy juicing weekend. So I have 2 sorry pineapples and a glut of overripe apples defiantly staring at me in that “so-whadda-ya-gonna-do-with-us-now” kinda way.
Ha! I stare right back at ya and raise you two chutneys and an apple butter!
Chutneys and fruit butters are really easy to make. Chop the fresh ingredients, toss into a pan or slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and forget about it until done except for the occasional stir.
These may look pretty similar in the pictures, but that’s due to my beloved coconut palm sugar turning everything a glorious caramel hue. Each of these jars hides a distinctly different flavour and texture.
Make one, make two, or make them all.
Serve with a cheese board, a thick slab of ham or gammon, some roast chicken or pork, or simply perk up a sandwich.
The apple butter is also delicious spread thickly onto a croissant, on a crumpet or a slice of toast, stirred through porridge, rice pudding or yoghurt. Heat briefly and gently in the microwave and pour over pancakes or ice cream. Try it as a cake filling or mixed with equal quantities of butter and sugar as a buttercream topping for cupcakes.
To sterilize jars, wash them in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Dry them in a low oven (140-160 C) for 15 mins. Decant the warm chutney or preserve into the warm jars using a wide necked funnel, being careful not to touch the chutney nor inside of the jars while doing so, so as to prevent “unsterilizing”.
Set the chutneys aside for a few weeks before using to allow the flavours to mature. These will keep in the larder for 6 months, if not longer.
The apple butter is good to go the next day, once it has nicely set in the fridge. Unopened in a sterilised jar, it should be good for 3-6 months too.
All should be kept chilled in the fridge after opening.
Pineapple Chilli Jam (makes 3 x 225 ml jars – GF DF LC V Vg RSF)
I stole this recipe from a proper farmer’s wife. It truly has a jam-like texture due to blending half of the pineapple to a smooth puree. The addition of fish sauce is unusual, granted, but for some bizarre reason, it works. I decided to add some cardamom too.
I must warn you, this has a kick unless you adjust the chilli. But I like it hot.
1 pineapple, skin and core removed
2 red chillies, unseeded (I used 3 fiery little thin ones)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1-1 1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
A few cardamom pods, lightly toasted and crushed
170 gr coconut palm sugar or unrefined golden caster sugar
50 ml sherry or white wine vinegar
Blitz half of the pineapple in a blender with the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce to a fine puree.
Add the pureed pineapple to a large heavy-based pan. Add the sugar, vinegar and cardamom pods.
Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the other half of the pineapple into small pieces, reserving the juices best you can
Once boiling, turn the heat down and add the chopped pineapple and any juices you managed to save.
Simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring and skimming as you go.
Adjust with sugar or vinegar to taste.
It’s done when you can drag a wooden spoon along the base of the pan and it leaves a clear trail.
Decant into sterilised jar(s) and seal.
Slow Cooker Pineapple and Mustard Chutney (makes 3 x 225 ml jars – GF DF LC V Vg RSF)
I found some wonderful organic apple pie and pumpkin pie spice mixes on Amazon the other day. Used the pumpkin pie one in the individual semi-raw pumpin pecan tarts I made to round off my Anglo-French Affair. Time to try out the apple pie mix.
This is based on another recipe steal and is specifically designed for a slow cooker, which doesn’t reduce liquids the way traditional cooking does. You can cook it on the hob too though, for 2 hrs or so on low heat. But you may need to add more water to ensure it does not over-reduce.
I like using eating apples in chutneys and preserves, as they keep their texture. But you can go cooking apple if you prefer a smoother result.
2 eating apples
2 cinnamon sticks (optional, depending on how much cinnamon is in your spice mix and how much you like cinnamon)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp apple pie spice mix (or mixed spice or pumpkin pie mix)
A couple of cloves (optional if cloves aren’t already included in the spice mix you are using)
100 ml apple cider vinegar
100 gr coconut palm sugar (or Natvia or unrefined golden caster sugar)
Peel, core and chop the pineapple into small chunks. Save as much juice as you can. Peel, core and chop the apples.
Add to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and any pineapple juices you managed to save. Stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Check part way though to ensure it’s not too dry. Add a little water if so.
Adjust vinegar/sugar to taste and cover to finish cooking.
Decant into sterilised jar(s) and seal.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter (makes a 500 ml jar – GF DF LC V RSF)
Don’t be fooled by the name: there is no butter in this at all.
Apple butter is a smooth apple preserve, a cross between a chutney and a jam, that is very popular in the US in autumn, especially around Thanksgiving time. The warming spices conjure up the spirit of Christmas too.
No need to peel the apples, as the pectin in the skins works as a thickening agent.
This recipe is designed for a slow cooker, but a slow cooker does not reduce liquids like traditional cooking does. This means you’ll likely have to drain off any excess liquid before blending to a smooth “butter”. Or bake it to dry it out.
If you haven’t got a slow cooker, or are limited on time, you could simply cook the apples very gently on the hob for 1-2 hrs in stage 1 and then bake in stage 2.
Use more sugar instead of honey if you’d like to make this vegan.
10 eating apples, cored and sliced or roughly chopped
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp apple pie spice mix, mixed spice or your own blend of 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves or a few whole cloves, a good grating of fresh nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
50 ml apple juice or water (I used left over poaching liquid from my pear tartlet)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract (optional)
3-4 tbsp coconut palm sugar or other unrefined sugar
3-4 tbsp honey
Mix together all the ingredients except the sugar, honey and vanilla paste in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hrs and then on low for 4 hrs (if yours has a medium setting, cook for 6 hrs on medium. Mine doesn’t).
Add the sugar, honey and vanilla (if using). Cook for another 30 mins, with the lid off if there’s a lot of liquid to let some of it evaporate. Remove the cinnamon sticks (and whole cloves if using) and check the sweetness. Add more sugar or honey if needed.
At this stage you have two options:
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with a clean j-cloth or through a nutbag to get rid of any excess liquid remaining. Blend the apple solids with a stick blender or in a power blender until smooth.
If the mixture is too thin, return it to the slow cooker and cook on high for another 30 mins or so with the lid open, or until it has thickened to your liking. Blend again if needed, best with a stick blender this time as the mixture will be so thick you’ll have a hard time getting it out of a blender jug.
Alternatively, you can spread the apple mixture out into a roasting tin or oven dish and bake for 1-2 hours in a 150 C oven, stirring every 30 mins or so until a nice spreading consistency is reached. Blend again to get rid of any potentially over-caramelised bits
Decant into sterilised jar(s) and seal. Else, this freezes well too. Ice cube trays are ideal for single portions.