As it’s harvest time – around the country there is a fair bit of preserving going on – jams, relishes, sauces, bottled fruit and all that good stuff. But here is something that happens to me sometimes – I get to this time of year and look in my store cupboard and see that I still have X jars of Y left from last year’s harvest season. This doesn’t put me off making more preserves, but I do get motivated to use up last year’s, as it’s not good to keep it too long – I like to eat mine within the year (ish) it’s made if I can.
Of course, one solution is pass it on – friends, food banks, school gala days…
But I am
tight thrifty when it comes to food, especially food which I grew myself so I thought I’d write a bit about other ways to use up relishes, pickles and chutnies, in case anyone else has a glut around this time.
Relishes etc. are most commonly used as a cold condiment to a sandwich or snack, but relish is just vegetables/fruit, sugar, salt, vinegar and spices so when you think about it – these are flavours which are good added to lots of things. Change your way of thinking about them – they aren’t just a condiment, they are like a little flavour booster. Just try to match the flavours in the pickle with what you are cooking. We think of relish as a cold food, too, but there is no reason it can’t be used in hot food.
I have a few jars of a dark and yummy plum/beetroot pickle that has been around for too long which I will be using up over the next eight weeks.
Here’s some suggestions for using up relishes and pickles to make way for this year’s batch:
-add 1 tsp to a tbsp to flavour mayonnaise…curry-based relishes + mayonnaise would be good with egg or potato salad, more vinegar/sweet relishes would be good with green salads. You could do the same with vinaigrette, too, of course.
-sitr through plain yoghurt as a raita alternative and serve alongside dahl
-stir 1-2 tablespoons into a 1 tbsp of oil and use as a marinade for meat or tofu.
-rub a teaspoon of relish into meat, fish or tofu before you put it into the oven to bake
-tomato/vinegar based relishes can be added to pasta or pizza sauces to give them a flavour boost. (Not too much! Just 1 tsp-1 tbsp.)
-add 1 tsp-1 tbsp to the flavour base of fried rice…as you frizzle your ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sayce etc, add a bit of pickle at this stage.
-use a little bit in soups to boost flavour, just as you would with packet stock. A tablespoon of tomato relish into a tomato soup really boosts the flavour. Of course you wouldn’t usually ‘waste’ relish doing this, but if you are using up a glut – go for it!
-use a little bit in casseroles, stews and oven bakes…
In other words – if you can add it to what you are cooking and it would improve and deepen the flavour, do it!
And of course, eat lots of it on water crackers with tangy cheese.
(I’m not sure if this post falls into the ‘teaching your grandmother to suck eggs’ category or if this is actually helpful, but anyway…pickle it up, folks!)