Ode to the food processor

The first time I made a beet relish, a couple of years ago, I chopped the beets up very finely by hand, winning blisters on four fingers in the process. Last year I almost killed the smallest of baby food processors, loading onions and beets, one at a time, into its tiny bowl for chopping. I started to wonder if it was worth the effort.

This year, thanks to a gift certificate that translated into much of a smart new Cuisinart, things were different, and the machine made amazingly light work of a half dozen very large beets and the same number of gigantic onions.
Now why didn’t I think of that before?
After perhaps 30 minutes of peeling and chopping, followed by about the same amount of time of cooking, we had almost a dozen purple jars just waiting for cheese, meat or veggies to eat with.

Of course one relish is not enough for the main December canning session, so we went for apples too, peeling and chopping for a curried apple date chutney that knocked our socks off last time around. It starts as a bulky mass that fills a large preserving kettle and simmers down to an amber pulp with a delicate curry kick. I will cut the sugar next time though. Time will tell — chutneys always taste better after a month — but it seems just a notch too sweet.

The final adventure to round off the morning was an onion marmalade. Just four jars, but it’s a tried and tested recipe that went down well last time. My worry is that we were spoiled with the seriously yummy fig-onion-tomato relish from a few weeks back, and it may not match up to those exalted standards. There’s something to be said for the time it takes to caramelize onions.


  1. I swear by my food processors, big and little! The apple-date chutney sounds so yummy – probably great with a hunk of blue cheese! And a dry red wine.. mmm How do I get a jar of the fig-onion from you? My son loves cheese and chutney sarnies!

  2. I’m sure this could be arranged. When is Richard next in Toronto?

  3. alliumstozinnias said

    What’s the recipe for curried apple date chutney? The Ozzie book has one for apple, choko (aka chayote and mirliton) and date — did you just adapt?

    • It’s from a Brit book called Jelllies, Jams and Chutneys http://www.amazon.com/Jellies-Jams-Chutneys-Thane-Prince/dp/0756636914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260153455&sr=8-1. I admit the book has a somewhat mixed record — the gooseberry chutney was a why-bother venture, specially after the time it takes to top and tail the gooseberries. But this one is a winner.

      2kg apples
      6 large onions
      500 g dates
      4-inch piece of ginger
      8 garlic cloves
      2 tbsp salt
      4 cups malt vinegar
      3 tbsp curry paste
      1kg sugar

      Simmer everything except the sugar for 20 minutes. Add sugar. Boil/simmer another 45 minutes. Bottle.

      • alliumstozinnias said

        Anything special in terms of the curry paste? Could I used a red Thai curry paste? That seems really hot. Or could I get away with 3 tbsp of curry powder?

  4. I wondered about curry powder too — I tend to use paste/powder interchangeably anyway. Maybe someone with more curry knowhow can answer this one. I’d think the Thai stuff is too hot though.

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