Preservation Season

It’s tornado season: time for self-preservation and food preservation! Sometimes they’re mutually exclusive.

For instance, last Tuesday night: My friend Julie was helping me make chutney, which was simmering on the stove when a hail storm came through. It wasn’t long before we heard tornado sirens. Take shelter or stir chutney? As we continued stirring amidst the chaos, I joked, “Well, this will all be funny as long as we don’t die.” (I said something similar last year at the State Fair — followed by a silent prayer: Please don’t let me earn a Darwin Award — as a friend and I waited in line for a corn dog, despite tornado sirens and cartoonish black clouds overhead.)

The storms eventually subsided and Julie went home. I continued quietly stirring the chutney as it cooked down, and the Harmed Brothers played from the living room. A line caught my attention: the kitchen light / is still shining on / and it’s still shining with a purpose. I looked at the track listing. No. 9: “We Might Not Have to Die Tonight.” Ha! I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Check it out.

Julie and plum chutney
Julie
plum chutney
The day before the storms, I answered Christine‘s call: Come get some plums! She had already made three batches of jam, and her plum tree was still heavy with fruit. I decided to make chutney using the recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Plums, onion, raisins, mustard seed, ginger, brown sugar and vinegar. Intriguing, yes? I read somewhere that chutney satisfies the five basic tastes. But guess what? I forgot to taste it before I sealed the jars. I’ll have to wait 2-3 weeks, since according to the recipe, it takes that long for the flavors to fully develop.

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