This is the tale of a courgette that grew too big.
In my garden there is a courgette patch that resembles a small jungle. Venturing down to the bottom of the garden scares small children – “because there might be tigers in there.” This courgette (or zucchini if you are Italian or North American) started growing in the jungle quite while ago. It was a very clever little courgette and managed to hide itself very effectively.
I was going up to Scotland to visit my family and thought I might as well cut all the courgettes that were ready and take them up with me, as they would either be too big or have succumbed to flower-end rot by the time I came come. As well as about half a dozen normal sized courgettes, I also found the “baby” courgette. It was about the size and weight of a 2 month old baby.
In the picture below my normal sized “almost five” year-old niece is holding it for comparison.
After a lot of mickey taking by everyone, including my mother, we decided to research what to do with it. We thought of stuffing it but my sister said there wasn’t enough couscous or rice available at the supermarket. A Google search for “giant-sized courgettes” came up with a recipe. Betty, my sister, also had a lot of windfall apples which were a bit on the small side for cooking and a bit on the sharp side for eating, so this recipe was ideal. The original apparently comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. They call it “River Cottage Chutney”. Betty adapted it a bit and renamed it.
“Maisie’s Baby Courgette Chutney”
- 1kg Marrow or
overgrown*baby* courgettes diced
- 1kg tomatoes (ripe or unripe)
- 500g sultanas
- 500g soft brown sugar
- 500g apples (either cooking or not too sweet)
- 400ml white wine vinegar
- 500g Onions chopped
- 3 finger chillies chopped finely(optional)
- pinch of salt (to taste)
For the spice bag
- 12 cloves
- 2 tsp coriander
- fresh ginger couple of pieces.
- First make up the spice bag by placing the ingredients in an old piece of tea towel or cotton and tying the top with string.
- Place all the other ingredients prepared as stated in a large pan or preserving pan.
- Bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar and once boiling reduce to a simmer
- Continue to simmer till the vinegar is pretty much absorbed and the veg is tender approx -3 hours stirring occasionally
- While the chutney is cooking warm some clean jars in a hot oven to sterilise
- Once cooked,discard the spice bag and place the chutney in the jars and cover with lids
- Label and date once cooled.
- Leave to mature in a dark cool place for 2-3 months.
I can’t tell you what the end product tastes like, but I will update you round about Christmas time. Actually it tasted great straight out of the pan. This is what it looks like.