Originating in India, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. Chutney is a term for a variety of sweet and spicy condiments, usually involving a fresh, chopped vegetable or fruit with added seasonings. The word chutney is derived from the East Indian word Chatni for "to crush." This signifies the process by which chutney is made as the ingredients are crushed together.
· While chutney is primarily sweet and sour, there can also be many variations of spices, often giving it a hot and spicy flavor including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom
· Most vegetable chutneys are prepared cold in a blender, while many fruit chutneys do require cooking.
· Like jams and jellies, chutney can be chunky or smooth
· Most chutney will last weeks in the refrigerator due to the acid/vinegar content. To preserve, be sure to use recommended instructions for canning in a water bath, usually 10 minutes in sterilized jars.
· Sweet chutney is a pleasant addition to bread and cheese, and can serve as a snack or small meal.
· Mix chutney with cream cheese, sour cream or crème fraiche for cracker spread or fruit dip.
· Mix chutney with a bit of olive oil and use it as a quick marinade or glaze for meats. However, be sure to boil it again and cool before using it as a glaze.
· Mix with homemade or packaged mayonnaise for accenting cold meats or poultry.
Here are three of my favorites:
HARRIS TOMATO CHUTNEY
5lb tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1c chopped onion
1c chopped sweet peppers
1 1/2tsp mustard seed
2Tbs mixed whole spices in bag
1 1/2tsp celery seed
1 1/4c vinegar
Combine tomatoes, onion, peppers, sugar, salt and seeds. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 mins. Add spice bag and simmer until thick then add vinegar and simmer again until there is no more liquid. Remove spice bag, pour into jars, seal and water process for 10 mins.
2c fresh mint
1c fresh cilantro
2 chopped green apples
1/4c grated coconut
2tsp chopped ginger
2Tbs lemon juice
Blend all ingredients in food processor then chill for 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate for up to a week
4-16oz cans whole berry cranberry sauce
1c brown sugar
1c chopped apples
1c slivered almonds
1c apple cider vinegar
2Tbs minced crystallized ginger
Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 mins. Cool, place in jars and process in water bath for 10 mins. Makes a quick appetizer with gingersnaps and cream cheese
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