Saturday, 26 August 2017

Preserving summer and bean magic...by Oakenheart & Sunchylde

Preserving Summer by Oakenheart & Sunchylde

Summer is the time where all the hard-work comes to fruition. I am now digging spuds, picking tomatoes , pulling carrots and the courgettes seem to be multiplying by the minute. My sprouting broccoli keeps coming and the chillies and peppers are developing nicely. I also have a glut of runner beans that have been added to almost every meal at the moment but I was looking for something a little more exciting to do with them and so I have embarked on a foray into pickling and preserving. 

This is a simple recipe much like your traditional piccalilli but without the need to salt the veg overnight.

Spicy Runner Piccalilli

900g Runner Beans
700g Onions
850ml Malt Vinegar
40g Corn Flour
1 heaped tbsp Mustard Powder
1 rounded tbsp Turmeric
225g Soft Brown Sugar
450g Demerara Sugar
Salt and chilli flakes to taste

Sterilise 6 x 500ml jars by washing them thoroughly with warm soapy water, rinse and then heat in a moderate oven (around 120c) for a minimum of 5 minutes

Roughly chop onions and place in a preserving or large pan with 275ml of the vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile chop the beans into small pieces (approx 1cm in length) and blanch in boiling salted water for 5 mins. Then strain and add to the onions.

Next in a bowl mix the corn flour, mustard powder, turmeric and chilli flakes with a little of the vinegar to make a paste. Add this paste to the onion and beans. Pour in the rest of the vinegar and simmer together for 10 minutes.

Then add the sugar and allow to dissolve and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Then pot into the warmed jars , seal and allow to cool. Once cool add a label with the date made and leave in a cool, dark place for around one month. This allows the flavours meld.

I will keep you all posted on how in tastes next month.

A little bit of bean magic!

Runner beans can be used in magic to bring luck and prosperity. Their ruling planet is mercury and their element is air. So to me they represent travel and divination too. When working with runner beans I'm always reminded of the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk in which Jack is sent to sell a cow but is supposedly swindled into a deal involving some magic beans. Jack's mother is not happy with this exchange at all and throws the beans out of the window in despair but in the morning they've transformed into a pathway to another realm full of riches such as the golden goose ... what luck!

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