The courgettes are here! They are such an excessive veg, but incredibly
versatile, so don’t despair if they get out of hand and you have a riotous number to use. ‘What will I do with all those Courgettes’ by Elaine Borish (ISBN 0952488159) is full of great ideas to use them up in soups, sales, casseroles, breads, cakes……. Meanwhile, here are a couple of my favourite ways to use up a mutinous quantity of the loveable rogues.
SPICY COURGETTE CHUTNEY
Time honoured traditional Indian spices turn a panful of courgettes into superb chutney to enjoy with just about everything; cheese, cold meats, curries etc. Of course you can use upovergrown courgette monsters, but I prefer to use young, tender courgettes when they are no more than 15 cm long to make this delightful spiced chutney.
Makes 4 x 340g jars
1kg courgettes, green or yellow
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions
2-3 large cloves garlic
1 red chilli (more if you want to increase the heat)
25g root ginger
100ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoons black mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
300 ml cider vinegar
225g Demerara sugar
Start by wiping the courgettes over and cutting off the stalks. Chop into approx. 1 cm dice (for larger courgettes halve and quarter lengthwise). Place in colander and sprinkle with the salt. Stand the colander over a bowl and leave for a couple of hours (the salt will draw out excess water from the courgettes and will prevent the courgettes going mushy when they are cooked). When ready to cook, rinse the courgettes with plenty of cold water and dry well.
Place the coriander and the cumin seed in a small dry frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and grind to a powder.
Meanwhile, peel the onion, garlic cloves, ginger and de-seed the chilli. Place in a blender with half of the oil and blitz to form a paste.
Heat the remaining oil a wide roomy saucepan. Sprinkle in the mustard seeds and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add onion paste, the ground spices and the turmeric and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring to prevent the spices catching. Add the courgettes, vinegar and the sugar. Stir well and bring to simmering point.
Gently simmer until the liquid has reduced. This will take between 30-45 minutes depending on size of pan – you may need to wham up the heat towards to end to drive off excess liquid.
Spoon the chutney immediately into warm sterilised jars, knocking downto remove any air pockets. Seal with vinegar proof lids.
GINGERED COURGETTE JAM
I love this recipe for three reasons. First, for its pure and down-to-earth simplicity. Secondly, for it parsimonious nature (a fantastic way to use up those oversize courgettes) and last of all, for the jars of golden ginger jam to spread on crisp buttery toast.
Makes 5 x 340g jars
1 kg overgrown courgettes or marrow. peeled and de-seeded (weight after peeling)
100g fresh root ginger, peeled
100ml lemon juice – roughly 2 lemons, plus the zest
1 kg jams sugar (sugar with pectin)
Coarsely grate the courgettes and root ginger. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to use the coarse blade on a food processor OR use the large holes on a hand grater.
Put the grated courgette, ginger and lemon juice and zest in a roomy, heavy based pan or preserving pan. Heat gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring carefully to prevent it sticking. Add the jam sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Then bring quickly to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6-8 minutes until setting point is reached.
Remove from the heat. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to remove any scum. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and immediately.