New Crystal Palace chutney made from local ingredients
2:28pm Friday 21st December 2012 in Freetime
An environmental group has created a Christmas chutney using ingredients harvested in the surrounding area.
Crystal Palace Transition Town was commissioned to create the chutney by Local Greens, a not-for-profit veg bag scheme operating nearby.
The apples, pears, rosehips, figs, plums, garlic and chillies used in the condiment have all been gathered from parks, allotments and members’ gardens in and around Crystal Palace.
Food writer Rachel de Thample, who worked with Marco Pierre White and was commissioning editor for Waitrose Food Illustrated, coordinated production of the chutney at a pub on Anerley Hill.
She said: “The bulk of the chutney was made at the kitchen of our local pub, the Grape & Grain. They've kindly let us use their kitchen on Mondays as they don't cook on that day.
“In September, we started hosting jam sessions in the pub's kitchen every Monday, using local gluts from people's gardens and there's been a huge interest. We've had so many different people through the kitchen and so many lovely conversations as we've chopped and stirred.”
Ms de Thample said the addition of Alexander seeds, loved by the Romans, gives the chutney a unique flavour.
She said: “We've just started creating a permaculture garden near my house and as we were clearing the site, I discovered a heap of Alexanders growing at the back of the garden, so we collected and ground these for the chutney.
"Taste-wise, they're very Christmassy: a cross between frankincense, black pepper and cloves. They totally transformed the chutney, along with the rosehips and bay.”
Local Greens are including the chutney in their Christmas feast veg bag which will be available from collection points in the Dulwich, Herne Hill, Brixton and Camberwell areas. It plans to start collection points in Crystal Palace in the New Year.
Therese Stowell one of the directors of Local Greens said: "The chutney is absolutely delicious, as well as having a fantastic story. We're really looking forward to more great projects with the folks in Crystal Palace as we start to offer our veg bags there.
"Crystal Palace has become a foodie haven, with so many people interested in environmental and food issues, so it's the perfect fit for us."
Find out more at www.localgreens.org.uk and www.crystalpalacetransition.org.uk