Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saving Money Deliciously

Over the weekend I got serious about saving money and started working on my homemade Christmas gifts. My number one assignment was to create something out of a beautiful box of Bosc pears that my husband and I had purchased near Orondo, WA. They were holding up pretty well in the garage but it was definitely time to use them or lose them.

Recently I was paging through an old cookbook that came from my mother in-law. It was a collection of recipes from Sun Valley, Idaho. The cookbook was at least 30 years old and the recipes were reflective of a 1960’s eating style. But a few of the recipes caught my eye and one of them was for "Isabel’s Fresh Pear Chutney," from Joan and Don Anderson. I am a big fan of chutney so this was the perfect solution for my pear quandary.

The recipe is easy and makes for delicious chutney. I love to pair it with a pork loin for an elegant but inexpensive meal. I will print the recipe as it was originally written but I did make some minor changes during the cooking process. I did not use a spice bag but put the spices directly in the mixture. I also added about a Tablespoon of cornstarch at the end to thicken it up just a bit more and add a little gloss.
The recipe made 11 ½ Pint Jars of delicious pear chutney that is now destined to be very inexpensive Christmas Gifts.

Isabel's Fresh Pear Chutney

5 lbs. firm Ripe Pears (Bartlett or Bosc)
½ cup finely chopped Green Pepper
½ cup seedless raisins
4 cups sugar
1 cup candied ginger
3 cups cider vinegar
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Cloves
½ tsp. Allspice
3 sticks Cinnamon

Pare, core and slice pears lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Combine with peppers, raisins, sugar, ginger, vinegar, and salt in 6-quart saucepan. Tie cloves, allspice and cinnamon in cheesecloth bag. Add to mixture in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered until dark and syrupy (about 2 ½ hours). Remove spice bag. Spoon into hot sterile jars and seal at once. Makes 4 pints.

A note on previous blog: I complained last week in this blog that I was tired of receiving telephone books all of the time. A helpful reader turned me on to http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/ where you can opt out of receiving these monstrosities. Another helpful site is http://www.catalogchoice.org/ where you can stop many of the catalogs you may be receiving in the mail. It requires you to join and then list each catalog individually that you don’t wish to receive but it is worth it. Save the Environment.

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