ALL ABOUT CHUTNEY!
Long ago, Indians of old understood that cooking fruits and vegetables makes it possible to preserve them longer. In the past, ingredients were placed in jars, which were then exposed to the sun to ferment and preserve the contents. And so, chutney was born! The chutney tradition – adapted and popularized by British officers arriving from tours of duty in India – travelled to the United Kingdom. And the rest is history.
Preparation and storage
The most popular type of chutney is probably the mango, but chutney can also be made with peaches, plums, figs and other fruits. Vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini are ripe to be added to the mix. By adding seasonings like pepper, spices, sweeteners or vinegar (or all of the above!), you can create your own chutney to suit your tastes using what you have on hand in your kitchen.
During cooking, add a little sugar and an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice to help with the preservation process. Canning chutney is the ideal anti-waste way to use damaged or overripe fruits and vegetables. Like jam, chutney keeps for a long time. It's also a multi-purpose condiment! Just be sure to use rigorous canning methods to ensure the preserved foods are safe to eat. Left uncanned, chutney will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
A thousand and one ways to enjoy it
Chutney is appropriate for all occasions and can be served cold, warm or hot. Let your imagination run wild.
- Serve it Indian style as an appetizer with light and crispy papadums (or with toasted pita wedges!), or on a nice platter of cheese, olives and Quebec deli meats. Or spread it on a fresh baguette along with goat cheese. All you need to do is uncork a fine bottle of white wine!
- Chutney is an excellent accompaniment to meat, poultry, fish, curry or sandwiches like grilled cheeses and veggie burgers.- It also serves as a refreshing change from other condiments such as ketchup or mustard. Try it on a hot dog!
Tried and tested recipes to try
- Classic and easy peasy mango chutney can be ready in five minutes.
- Cranberry, pear and jalapeno chutney is a tasty sweet and spicy version. According to the season, swap the haskaps with cranberries.
- Apple chutney is a sure thing, especially after the fall picking season.
Here are a few winning flavour combinations to inspire those who like to improvise:
- Haskaps, orange zest and pickled onions
- Figs, balsamic vinegar and rosemary
- Peach, vanilla and ginger
- Strawberries, rhubarb and jalapeno pepper
While you're at it, why not double or triple recipes before canning. Chutney is a great host gift to have on hand (but we'll keep your secret if you keep your jars for your own use). Happy cooking and experimenting!