In every community and culture, food and drink play a pivotal role. This weekend from 10 to 19 September onwards, Heritage Open Days will acknowledge this role with their new campaign, Edible England.
This campaign will provide free visits to local history, architecture and cultural sites, hoping to inspire a whole series of events across the country:
“[From] revealing culinary tastes of the past, to going behind-the-scenes of modern production methods, exploring the customs and quirks that have developed around what we eat and drink, as well as the fascinating history of some of our regional and national specialties.”
Events and activities during Edible England
In Yorkshire, we’ve got a fantastic choice of activities to suit all tastes, including:
- Trying out some weird and wonderful treats at Wombwell cemetery.
- Checking out a display of vintage cookery and household management books from Sheffield and beyond.
- Walking round the old town of Bridlington on a food trail.
- Exploring Indian food and dance in Leeds.
- Browsing through a specially curated exhibition of cookery, culinary and food themed books in Leeds Library.
- And much more!
“Waste not want not”
With more of us interested in growing our own produce, September also brings the age-old problem of what to do with gluts of fruit and vegetables. Grandma Abson’s mantra was ‘Waste not want not’ and when this happened, nothing ever went to waste. She made chutneys and pickles to last through the winter as a perfect side dish with hot and cold dishes.
So, armed with a load of green tomatoes when the sun didn’t shine and were about to succumb to blight, I consulted one of Grandma’s collection of cookery book for a suitable recipe. Homemade chutneys are very easy to make and this recipe is based on her 1930s baking splattered copy of ‘Modern Cookery Illustrated’.
Green Tomato Chutney recipe
2 lb/approx 1 kg green tomatoes
2lbs/approx. 1 kg apples
1 lb/450g demerera sugar
1 lb/450g shallots
2 oz/50g garlic
2 tbsps of ginger (chopped finely) or ground ginger
6 red chillis (chopped finely)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp mustard seed
1 pint/ml vinegar (cider or white wine vinegar)
Quarter the tomatoes. Peel and core the apples and cut into pieces; peel the shallots and garlic. Mix together. Place in a large pan and add the other ingredients. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring until the ingredients are thick and soft. Allow to cool. Spoon into clean jars and cover securely.
Grandma Abson’s top tips for the chutney
Chop the tomatoes and onions finely or put them through a mincer if you want the final consistency of the chutney to be smooth. To test if the chutney is ready, draw a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. If it’s ready, the chutney must not flow back into the gap left behind by the spoon. If not, then check every 5 minutes or so until the gap is clear. Chutney needs to cool slowly so the spices infuse and flavour the fruit. You can add more ginger and other spices such as mustard seed, coriander or cumin to make it even spicier.
I can’t wait to check out the Heritage Open Days Edible England activities this weekend. There are some online if you can’t get to the location.
You can read more about Grandma Abson’s life, her passion for baking and recipes HERE and head over to Instagram @grandmaabson to see Meryl baking with her grandchildren.