Sunday was the perfect chutney making day - overcast, a tad chilly and raining heavily - a hint that there's a change of season on the way.
Rummaging in the cellar on Saturday for the paraphenalia that gets an airing at this time of year - jars, funnels, wax discs, large pots - I found we still had eighteen pounds of chutney left over from the August 05 vintage (we'd jarred 54 pounds, one a week and two to spare) - a good year with lively bouquet, a rich colour and a raisiny sweetness complementing the vinegar's bright acidity! (Chutney snob)
So instead we knocked up eight pints of summer pudding mix - Autumn Bliss raspberries, wild blackberries from the allotment and apples. It's been a good year for soft fruit.
We followed this with eight pints of courgette and basil soup. The house was beginning to smell like a cross between a sweet factory and a pie shop. And we rounded off the day with a modest 12 pounds of courgette and tomato chutney - looking nice and dark this year. Even if you follow faithfully a recipe from year to year the results always differ slightly.
Now we just have to wait two months or so to see how the flavours develop and if we can declare August 06 a vintage year. Somehow I think it's pretty hard to go wrong with the sweet and sour mix of sugar and vinegar.
But I've a question: how long before last year's chutney spoils or does it have the afterlife of a nuclear fuel rod?