Chutney Love: Recipe for Preserving Summer

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fresh fruit chutney

 

fresh fruit chutney

Whether praising peaches, exalting raspberries or ogling apricots, I’d have to say I gush over seasonal fruit. What I don’t grow well (and that’s a big category this year), I try to buy locally. I just received a box of fruit from the Washington Sate Fruit Commission, a cardboard treasure chest layered with summer’s finest jewels: peaches, plums, and Italian prunes.  (Told you I gush.)

COPY CODE SNIPPET

Inspired by a visit to Sweet Preservation and pressured by the waning days of summer and the said box before me, I knew it was time to jar up some sunshine for my winter reserves. Such variety and bounty called for making a favorite: Late Summer Chutney.

First of all, what the heck is chutney?  To quote the dictionary, it’s a relish of East Indian origin, often compounded of both sweet and sour ingredients, as fruits and herbs, with spices and other seasoning. Me, I define it as a fruity condiment your pantry (and plate) should not be without.

Chutney is one of the easiest preserves to make, you basically, wash, chop, add, stir, wait, cook, and can. I love chutney as an accompaniment to meats and cheeses, on sandwiches, tossed in salads or naked by the spoonful (naked referring to the chutney). And as with most of my cooking, there’s a lot of room for improvisation. Mix and match fruit, add more of what you like and less of what you don’t (though I would stick to the vinegar and sugar proportions).

RECIPE: Late Summer Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound apples
  • 1 pound peaches
  • 1 pound pears
  • 1 pound plums/prunes
  • 2 onions
  • 1.5 cups of golden raisins
  • 1 orange: zest and juice
  • 2 cups of cider vinegar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • spices
    • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
    • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (Like heat?  Add more.)
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 inches grated fresh ginger
    • pinch of salt
    • grind or two of black pepper

fresh fruit, peaches, plums, apples and prunes ready for the chutney pot

Preparation:

  1. Mince onions, add to pot, cook on low until translucent or caramelized.
  2. Core and remove seeds
  3. Chop fruit into uniform bite sizes, add to pot, stir.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir.
  5. Bring up temperature, stirring to dissolve sugar and blend thoroughly
  6. When combined, turn off heat and let it cool, stir, and refrigerate overnight
  7. Next day, simmer until fruit is tender but still holding shape and mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Place in jars, leaving half inch head space, press down chutney with spoon to remove air bubbles
  9. Lid, and seal in hot water bath. I usually seal for 10 minutes.

fresh bitesize peaches for chutney

I peel the apples and pears, but not the stone fruit.  Peach and plum skins are relatively tender, plus they turn the chutney a beautiful red color.

recipe for making fruit chutney

Right: The heated chutney before being cooled and placed in the fridge.  Left: Overnight the fruit gets a little pickled (who doesn’t), firms up and takes on a new color.

summer fruit chutney in a bowl

I used to cook chutney to death, like a lumpy pastier version of Major Grey’s chutney. Not so any more, I simmer the fruit until all of the ingredients are incorporated and standing liquids have mostly evaporated. This makes for a fresher tasting, crunchier chutney–part side dish, part condiment, all delicious.

The finished product is summer in a jar, a jar you can open at will. Make a batch and capture some sun; you’ll need it this January.

Chutney love indeed: Boz loves his fresh fruit

Chutney love indeed indeed; Boz pining for peaches, hankering for apples and letting me know about it.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I’m still eating my way through a giant batch of peach chutney I made last year. This mixed fruit variety looks intriguing indeed! In addition to chutneys, another condiment I recommend making is a good plum sauce. I made some earlier this summer and it is awesome! I think I’m going to make another batch with the fruit from another plum tree that needs to be picked soon.

  2. Just made some mango chutney last weekend and bought more so I could whip up another batch today. I agree chutney’s fabulous on just about anything including but not limited to a spoon. Ha.

  3. Chutney–YES! I have been picking plums this morning in anticipation of lovely plum chutney! I have to say, Tom, that discovering your blog has been a true highlight of this summer—seriously!

  4. Chutney lovers unite, and thanks for all the nice comments. And Pam, wow, you made my cloudy Labor Day morning, thank you. I’ll have to give plum chutney a try–sounds grrrr-eat.

  5. Oh Tom I’m so glad they came through! I emailed them weeks ago and told them they needed to send some to you. They said they were at the end of the season and out of funds. Glad they scraped some up! The chutney looks divine as ever. xo, Annette

  6. Love your “Chutney Love” post. I am writing about Plum and Lavender Chutney, a recipe from the HerbFarm Cookbook. I came across your blog this a.m. Love your images and will need to make some of your chutney soon. Thanks for the post! Kathy

  7. Stacey– tomato chutney — a new one to try as well as Kathy’s plum-lavender chutney. They sound pretty darn fine. I’ll have to try them –thanks!

    And Annette, thanks for the shout-out!

  8. Ahhh the love of Chutney, I have been making and selling North Carolina Chutney for about two years now, we also market it as ” The Other BBQ Sauce” as you see it is basically the same but made with lovely peaches and apples instead of tomato base, such a great article, ahhh, does my heart good…

  9. Debra, I think you’re on to something, this chutney would be great on grilled eggplant and roasted portabello. And if you eat fish, I mix it in tuna salad, too. I have added it to rice pilaf, mixing it in for a fruit-infused side.

  10. What a lovely combo of grand ingredients in this lovely home made chutney, Tom!

    I love the spices you have used in here! I will make this tasty recipe!!

    Yummmmm,..Many hand waves from rainy & chilly Brussels to you!

  11. You’d probably like Scandinavian fruit soups. Very similar to your chutney, but using mostly dried fruits, tapioca, and no pepper! My Norwegian grandmother used large pearl tapioca (hard to find, these days), and her secret ingredient was a tablespoon of cider vinegar, added at the end.

  12. I’ve never made any chutney of any kind before, but I’ve got to say, that looks like something special – but this … this might put me over the edge …

  13. […] September 8th, 2011 · No Comments #leftcontainerBox { float:left; position: fixed; top: 60%; left: 70px; } #leftcontainerBox .buttons { float:left; clear:both; margin:4px 4px 4px 4px; padding-bottom:2px; } #bottomcontainerBox { height: 30px; width:50%; padding-top:1px; } #bottomcontainerBox .buttons { float:left; height: 30px; margin:4px 4px 4px 4px; } I’m a man who’s a fan of things to can, a preserve practitioner ready to bottle up summer sweet things at a moment’s notice or as availability allows. So when the folks at the SweetPreservation.com asked me to be a CANbassador, delivering a case of succulent plums, peaches and nectarines along with the question, “What can you do with these?” my brain simmered like a stock pot of steaming chutney. […]

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