Adventures in Condiments, Part 2: Chutney of Doom

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

I started to run dangerously low on mango chutney. I know. What a foolish thing for me to let happen. Bordering on criminal.

By the way, if you want something to make that makes mango chutney an absolute necessity, try making a truly delicious steak, flame a tablespoon full of brandy over it, and top with a spoonful of mango chutney. Trust me when I say you’re not ruining your steak. You’re doing it a favor. You’re welcome.

I have made chutneys before, but none that required canning. Chutneys are stupid easy, and everyone should learn how. You’ll never throw out tired fruit again. Here are the basics:

  • Cut up fruit of choice. I have used dried fruits of all sorts, cranberries, apples, pears, and such. It doesn’t so much matter.
  • Add roughly chopped onions. Don’t skimp. Use up that partly cut up onion you haven’t gotten around to throwing away yet. It’ll be fine in there.
  • Add vinegar. Use your judgement about what kind, but cider or red wine vinegar seem to be good choices. Use enough to start the fruit and onions floating, but not much more.
  • Put some sugar in there. Brown or white or raw. Just something to help the mess turn into a gel. You have to use more than a sprinkle. (Chutney may not be the condiment of choice for diabetics.)
  • Throw in some spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorns, mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger (fresh if possible- it’s much nicer), red pepper flakes, etc.
  • Boil the mess down a bit and put it in a jar. It should be pretty thick.

It doesn’t take that much time, and depending on what you threw in, you can use it on lots of stuff. I don’t care if it’s Indian or not. Chutney is fun.

I started watching Moulin Rouge while I chopped the mangoes, onions, lemons, limes, oranges, garlic, and ginger. There’s also some cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, three kinds of zest (my own addition), and some spices. Piccolo seemed mildly dismayed that I sang along with the movie.

This is some of the mango guts that comes from making chutney.

This recipe came from the same place my ketchup recipe did, the Home Preserving book by Ball. Unlike the ketchup, this recipe did not want to try to kill me with molten bubbles, which made it easier. This recipe, unlike just about any other I’ve made from this book, actually seemed to make the amount it said it would, which turned out to be six 8 oz jars.

This is what chutney looks like, all naked without a jar.

Here’s where I curse myself. The recipe was easy, and there’s no reason for everything not to go perfectly. But I don’t actually have a canning rack for the pot I do my canning in. Why is this such a problem? Why doesn’t the old stand-by trick of using the screw-on caps to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot always work?

Because the 8oz jars will tip on those lids, that’s why. If your jars tip, they may not seal. They may just let all the water from the pot into the jars. They become difficult lift out, stand up, and in most other ways it just kind of sucks. I have two jars that were on their sides when I lifted the lid after processing. [Face-palm]

I’m going to get myself a canning rack and stop being stupid about this. The proper equipment can be important people. Learn from me!

On the other hand, the chutney seems to be very nice. I just need to keep an eye on those couple of jars that tipped. If nothing else, I may try boiling them down again. No biggie.

This is what clothed chutney looks like. Before you make it all naked again and put it on your steaks and stuff.



~ by jesstracey on May 28, 2012.

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