In Made at Home: Preserving (Firefly Books, 2012), Dick and James Strawbridge explain how to preserve a wide variety of fresh foods, including jams, jellies, pickles, relishes and chutneys. The following recipes and instructions on how to make chutney are taken from chapter 5: Jars. You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Made at Home: Preserving.
Chutney can be made from almost any fruit or vegetable. We’ve used marrows, runner beans, apples, radishes, rhubarb, red and green tomatoes, grapes, chillies, aubergines, squash, pears and turnips, to name but a few! The key when making chutney is to cook it for a long time and evaporate most of the moisture so that it reaches a thick, jam-like consistency. The colours will change but the flavours will always intensify. The other thing to consider when cooking a good chutney is to be bold and contrast the flavours – don’t be afraid to mix fruits and vegetables.
There are various spices that add those distinctive chutney flavours: cumin, coriander, allspice, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, paprika, mustard seed and garlic are some of the main ones. Crush your chosen spices with a pestle and mortar to release their aroma.
Vinegar is used in chutney because its acidity effectively inhibits the actions of unwanted micro-organisms. Distilled vinegar is the strongest preservative, but also one of the most expensive. The more you pay for your wine or malt vinegar, the tastier your chutneys will be. We tend to use a variety of different vinegars, including cider vinegar, white wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.
Most chutneys mature with age, and if kept in the right conditions will last for years, but once you have opened a jar of chutney, it will last longer if you keep it in the fridge.
Grandpa’s Chutney Recipe
Makes about 12 small jars
5 pounds green tomatoes, sliced
1 pounds onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 pound golden raisins, chopped
4 cups pickling vinegar
1 pound light muscovado sugar, or 2½ cups dark brown sugar
5 small hot chilies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground ginger
Put the tomatoes and onions in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt and set aside for a few hours. Drain off the liquid and place the solids in a pan with the apple and sultanas. Gently heat until the fruit softens. Add the vinegar, sugar, chilies and ginger and cook for at least 45minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
How to Make Chutney
1. Start by slicing, dicing, peeling and coring all the fruit and vegetables you will be using. Then prepare the spice or herb mix.
2. Add the fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices to a pan and simmer until they start to soften.
3. Cook on a medium to low heat for no less than 45 minutes. You will know when your chutney is ready because it will have reduced to a jam-like consistency and your kitchen will smell wonderful.
4. Remove the chutney from the heat and pour into sterilized jars. Keep the jars in a cool, dark place and make sure that all the lids are securely sealed.
Goat Cheese Crostini with “Some Like It Hot” Chutney Recipe
Chutney and cheese is a partnership that needs no introduction. Spicy chutneys are not to everyone’s taste, but for those of us who enjoy a bit of heat, this preserve is hard to beat.
1 small baguette
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces goats’ cheese
7 ounces mixed bitter salad leaves
1 carrot, grated
For the dressing:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the chutney:
3 fresh red chilies, chopped
2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
15½ ounces red tomatoes, chopped
2 red onions, finely chopped
7 ounces sugar (about 1 cup)
1 cup cider vinegar
3½ ounces raisins, chopped
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of ground allspice
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the chutney, put all the ingredients into a large pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. When the smells have filled your kitchen, the fruit has all softened and the vinegar has reduced, transfer the chutney into sterilized jars and store in a dark, cool place, where it will keep for 6–12 months. Allow the chutney to mature for a month before eating.
Slice the bread, then toast it until golden. Rub a little crushed garlic and olive oil over one side of each piece of toast and spread some goats’ cheese on top.
Combine the bitter salad leaves and grated carrot in a bowl. To make the dressing, put the lemon juice, oil, ginger, chili and sesame seeds into a bowl and mix with a fork. Drizzle over the salad and serve with the crostini, topped with a dollop of chutney.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Preserving: Made at Home by Firefly Books, 2012. Buy this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Made at Home: Preserving.