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Chutney calculator update

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General recipe calculator for chutney update

I have written a general purpose recipe calculator for making chutney.  The problem with large quantities is that they will need to be cooked in batches. The size of the batches will depend on the size of the pan used. I have included the user's preserving pan size, this allows for batches to be calculated according to that capacity.

The calculator is set to my pan size which is CORRECTION 8 LITRES not 16 litres! the WORKBOOK HAS BEEN AMENDED AND SHOULD BE DOWNLOADED AGAIN. The calculator uses the Damson and Apple Chutney recipe as an example. After downloading the spreadsheet, just replace the ingredients with your own and adjust the pan size if necessary to yours. 

Important: the first ingredient in the list is the one used to calculate the recipe. The calculator is in the same spreadsheet as the recipes. Excel chutney recipe calculator 

I have added nine chutney recipes to the spreadsheet. All units are metric except for teaspoons and items like cloves or garlic.

General purpose chutney recipe calculator

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General recipe calculator for chutney

I have written a general purpose recipe calculator for making chutney.  The problem with large quantities is that they will need to be cooked in batches. The size of the batches will depend on the size of the pan used. I have included the users preserving pan size, this allows for batches to be calculated according to that capacity. The calculator is set to my pan size which is 16 litres and uses the Green Pepper and Apple Chutney recipe as an example. After downloading the spreadsheet, just replace the ingredients with your own and adjust the pan size if necessary to yours. 

Important the first ingredient in the list is the one used to calculate the recipe. The calculator is in the same spreadsheet as the recipes. Excel chutney recipe calculator 

Easy recipe calculation

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Tasty recipe but how to calculate quantities?

Chutney not jam!

There isn't much point in having a calculator for jam is there as the ingredients are just fruit and sugar.

I have a recipe for pear chutney that I used both last year and this year. This year we have had a bumper crop of both apples and pears.  Pears are hard to keep and the chutney I made last year was very tasty,  I still have a few jars left.  It is often not easy to calculate the quantities required and so with the ripening of my second pear tree and an even larger crop I had to work out quantities for making chutney with 16 kg of fruit! That makes nearly 36 kg of chutney  :)

What I did was write an MS Excel spreadsheet. All that is required is to enter the quantity of fruit into the cell coloured green and the spreadsheet calculates the quantities for you. It can be downloaded here : Pear Chutney The spreadsheet quantity entered was set at 5 kg when I uploaded the file, just replace that with your quantity. The calculations are of course completely accurate. The recipe can be varied, for example one could add more or less onions.

 My next problem is how to conserve over 38 kg of chutney with my limited supply of jam jars!  I have read that using zip lock freezer bags is a suitable solution - fill them and lay them flat, it is then easier to store them in the freezer.  Of course you're better off with a chest freezer.

Large quantities of fruit for chutney?

It is one thing to have an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the quantities of ingredients for making a large amount of chutney but then the problem is the size of your pan. I have a 16 litre maslin pan bought locally at Knees in Trowbridge -the oldest department store in the West country. My pan can take 7 kg of  total ingredients in the pear recipe. Although that quantity starts off higher than the pot it renders down to a just manageable quantity. Unfortunately, I have not allowed for other recipies where the main flavour ingredient ie. green peppers is quite a lot less than the usual apple part of the recipe. I have modifed this post below but not the recipe yet.

If 7kg of total ingredients (excluding vinegar etc)  is optimal for a 16L pan then each litre of capacity will take 7/16 or 0.438  Use that factor to find out how much fruit you can use in your size pan. For example an eleven litre pan will take 11x0.438=4.81 kg total ingredients.

The result may not be a simple quantity of,  for example, 3.5 kg but the Excel recipe spreadsheet will manage any quantity of fruit.

Update:

Green pepper and Apple chutney

I have amended  the spreadsheet and improved it and also added a recipe for green pepper and apple chutney. I get my recipes from the Internet and trust they are good ones.

The improvements to the spreadsheet enable the recipes to be varied in the proportion of the different ingredients. Extra ingredients can also be added by using Insert - Rows. Heavy ingredients need to be entered in the upper part of the spreadsheet as the weight of the recipe will change.

Fennel seed

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I found this website whilst searching for tips on collecting and storing fennel seed: http://honest-food.net/veggie-recipes/greens-and-herbs/  It is a beautifully illustrated website and well worth visiting for the interesting information. Who'd have thought of using green fennel seed and I didn't know about fennel pollen. I use the fluffy leaves with fish, especially smoked kippers, and all I need to do is pop into my garden.

Free food?

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Free food?

Whilst there has been quite a lot of references to free food from the hedgerows the reality is that if people did go out and collect this free food they would be breaking the law as the hedges belong to someone; it would be neccesary to ask permission of the landowner.

What might happen and maybe is happening, is that this free food will rapidly disappear if a lot of people went collecting. Well, except for stinging nettles, which people still don't believe are an excellent food and very tasty - steam for a few minutes first!

Before the free food disappears

Plant and encourage "weeds" in your garden. I have my own blackberry bramble, my Tayberry seems to have disappeared. Buy perennial salad plants. I have bought sorrel, Welsh onions, and other plants. don't destroy the stinking nettle, eat it! Apples? they can be frozen whole, although it is best to core them first. I have two year old frozen whole apples and just steam them like new potatoes. Invest in a chest freezer and save pounds. Just buy the bargains and freeze them.

Supermarket food bargains

I have never been in any supermarket and have been unable to find special offers and reduced price food. Most of this food can be bought and placed in your freezer, that's if you have a chest freezer - the most economical option.

 

Why butter really is better for you . . .

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Butter or Vegetable Oil?

We have been advised to use vegetable oil rather than butter or other animal products for cooking. since most vegetable cooking oils contain 120 Kcal and butter is only 90 kcal per tablespoon I have wondered about the logic of cooking with vegetable oil rather than butter, which arguably tastes better anyway.

I use a wok, a Le Creuset wok, for cooking on a daily basis and note that I need a tablespoon of cooking oil to ensure that my food is not burnt. On reviewing my kcal consumption I have noted that cooking oil is a significant factor in my calorie consumption. A typical meal will require 120 kcal, that's one tablespoon. when I have finished cooking there is no residue left in my wok. Whereas by using butter I have noted that I am only using the same amount  as oil for cooking and, And, there is even butter left in my wok after cooking.

It seems to me that cooking with butter is not only tastier but also provides less calories, possibly less than as listed, as some is left for the next meal. We also need fat in our diet so have we been advised correctly?

Incidently a proper wok is hemispherical and will need less oil than one that has a flat bottom. I forgot to include this link when I originally posted this article: Butter is good for you 

I have also found another link that provides information about the possible health benefits of eating what we have been told to avoid-  the number one being fat. Unhealthy or healthy food?

Village Shop Fresh Food

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Where ever the proposed village shop needs to be, it does need to be large enough to provide the range of goods that we need and at reasonable prices. The combined shop and post office at Winsley is a good example.

I am concerned that there should always be a range of fresh vegetables available. There is a danger that because there is not much profit on fresh produce this part of the produce for sale will be neglected and disappointed shoppers will just go to Bradford On Avon. 

One of the great things about supermarkets are that it is unusual to not to be able to buy what you need, whatever the time of day. And often, whatever the time of day there are usually bargains.

Storing healthy Food

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Whilst not exactly a local food issue, it could be, if you grow your own food and need to store it. Although I am at present living alone my under-worktop fridge and separate under-worktop freezer are not sufficient to store the necessary amounts of fruit and vegetables for a healthy diet without having to shop more frequently than I (and possibly we) should. Using precious fuel (cost and environmental damage) and although, I might be slightly mad,  like shopping, shopping takes time that might be better spent.

My solution, well my present solution, is to install a fridge in a shed in my garden. I have done this, and now can buy plenty of vegetables and keep them fairly fresh. I have partially insulated the shed, but just recently I have encountered a problem that I have expected, what happens when the temperature drops to such a low level that the food may freeze.  I now need to plug the fridge into a time switch and monitor the temperature. I am doing this with a maximum and minium type garden thermometer. I will also complete the insulation, which will keep the shed cooler in the summer (its location can absorb sunshine) and help to stop the shed getting too cold in the winter.

I have an excellent list of recommended storage periods for fruit and vegetables that I obtained from Cindy Tong's website Harvesting & Storing. . .

What type of fridge to use in a garden shed? Apparently its best in terms of economy to use a  chest freezer!  But with the thermostatic control altered to run as a fridge  not a freeezer. For a rather extensive discussion of thermostatic control of fridges ( in the context of making Beer!) see fridge temperature control.  For the article on using a chest freezer as a fridge and how to modify one seeTom Chalko's solution (the chest freezer run as a fridge is up to 20 times more efficient than a fridge!)

PS a fridge should not allow food to freeze (outside the freezing compartment of course) and will shut down, but in the situation that the fridge is placed in a shed the ambient temperature may just freeze the food. I don't want to heat the shed!

 

Allotments

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I live in Staples Hill but in Wiltshire. My enquiry about getting an allotment resulted in being told that the half a dozen or so allotments in Bradford on Avon were unavailable and that I might gain one in Trowbridge, eventually - in a year or two! My view is that I should be able to "till the land" locally.

And on reflection my allotment in Trowbridge, if I was lucky enough to get one, would be subject to drug fiends and vandals. Actually, most denizens of Trowbridge are charming -including the youngsters, but such is the times. It would for me, have made more sense, if I could have been offered an allotment in Freshford. But not withstanding my residential status in Wiltshire -lower council tax and having Andrew Murrison as MP  I would like to have an allotment in Freshford. 

Are there any? and is there any available? I like the idea of sharing ideas and a cup of tea in a shed on an allotment.

Given the next War or rather similar conditions that gave rise to allotments in central London, where I used to live there is a need for allotments. Since we are not at war it should be fun! But we are faced with the imminent responsibility of providing for ourselves at a minimal cost to the environment. The key words must be Food and Fuel! This year's efforts in my garden leave me to realise that I would starve if left to my own efforts -even the bumper crop of pears rotted! So if I can't gain an allotment in Freshford being a Wilts resident  maybe I could share the cost with a B&NES resident?

 

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