Easy Green Bean and Marrow Chutney
This is my take on the much-loved green bean chutney. It's a favourite of mine because it's so easy to make and about the nicest thing in the world to have in a cheese sandwich.
I'm not a great fan of runner beans as a vegetable, but I grow them every year just to make this preserve. Even if you love green beans and eat them as fast as you can pick them, there's always that moment in late summer when you've more than you can possibly cook or give away. That's the time to make your green bean chutney.
I often have a spare marrow around at this time and usually some of my apples are beginning to ripen, so I like to make use of these too. I think they add lightness and improve the texture.
Tips for Making the Perfect Green Bean Chutney
- Do choose lovely tender and fresh produce for this or any other chutney recipe.
- Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can use up beans that have gone stringy and tough. I tried that and I can tell you that they don't soften up, however much you cook them. All I got when I tried was half a dozen jars of something fibrous and inedible.
- I always 'string' runner beans by slicing off the seam down each side with a sharp knife, and then cut them across diagonally into half-inch slices.
- Make sure that every piece of equipment is really clean and that your jars are sterilized. I heat mine up in the oven. Just remember to take the rubber seals of first! They can be soaked in boiling water.
- This preserve tastes pretty good when made but it should be left to mature for at least 6 weeks to bring out and balance all the flavours. It keeps for at least a year and seems to get more yummy the longer it's left.
- 2 pounds green beans
- 4 to 5 onions
- 1/2 pound marrow
- 3 to 4 apples
- Handful of sultanas
- 1 1/2 pounds demerara sugar
- 1 1/2 pints white wine vinegar
- 1 to 3 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbs tumeric
- 1 tsp dried mustard powder
- Chop the beans and onions into half-inch slices.
- Peel, core and chop the marrow and apples into half-inch cubes.
- Put all ingredients together in a deep pan and just cover with water
- Add the sultanas.
- Simmer for ten minutes until soft and cooked.
- Strain off the water and discard.
- Add the wine vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and slowly bring back to a boil.
- Keep on a low rolling boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the cornflour, mustard and tumeric with a little water to make a runny paste and stir in.
- Cook and stir on a low heat for a further 5 minutes till the mixture has thickened.
- You are looking for a thick but just pourable consistency rather than a jam style setting point
- It may be necessary to mix up and add some more cornflour to get the right consistency.
- Pour the mixture into sterilized jars and seal.
This year I was in a contemplative mood when I assembled my ingredients. I felt really aware of how this simple bit of vegetable preserving that I was doing in the 21st century linked me to countless kitchens and women across the world and back through the centuries. I made the still life arrangement that you can see above with my chutney ingredients, to celebrate that moment, and then I made my chutney.