Summer 2022 – a greengage summer

I’m in my happy place dealing with the first glut of the summer. We returned from holiday to a bumper crop of greengages, many over-ripe so, apart from a handful eaten fresh from the tree and another of the best batch turned into a delicious greengage crumble the rest are destined for the kitchen alchemy of becoming gingery greengage chutney.

I am such a fan of chutneys – no fiddling around with setting temperatures, saucers stashed in the freezer and pushing spoons of hot jam around to see whether it wrinkles. Seriously, who has the time? Chutney-making is kids’ play. It really was when our children were little and tiny hands were eager to mix and stir, measure out spoonfuls of spices and throw piles of chopped vegetables and fruit into the pan.

Every batch is slightly different but a pick and mix of currants, raisins or sultanas, cinnamon sticks, pink peppercorns, ginger and cloves usually make an appearance somewhere alongside the obligatory vinegar, sugar and glut of fruit or veg. This pan will make several pots of lusciousness to be stowed safely in the pantry awaiting the time when crusty bread with a hunk of cheese and an apple is an economical way to fill a hungry hole. Some will make their way into Christmas hampers for friends and a special pot is on its way to our neighbours Dave and Dickie as a thankyou for putting the bins out and watering the pots when we were away. The best kind of thankyou – homegrown and homemade with love.

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