Life

Spicy sweet chutney recipes and preserving tips 0

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI Agency
The Complete Preserving Book, recently released by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen (Transcontinental; $34.95) (Supplied)

The Complete Preserving Book, recently released by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen (Transcontinental; $34.95) (Supplied)

Chutney - here's how The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman describes this ever-more popular preserve: "A tangy relish made from a mixture of fruits (and sometimes vegetables), herb, spices, sugar and vinegar, which originated in India and takes its name from the Hindi word, "catni," which means "to be liked" or "to be tasted."

To be liked for sure, especially when tasted with cheese, notably mild ones like Oka and Brie, with grilled cheese sandwiches, on chicken or pork burgers, with a selection of cold meats, or curries.

For chutney inspiration, I looked at The Complete Preserving Book, recently released by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen (Transcontinental; $34.95) where there is an excellent selection of chutney recipes. I have selected three I created while food editor of the magazine.

Peach and Raisin Chutney

This is one of my all-time favourite chutneys. It's a great gift idea if you're stashing preserves away for holiday giving. An easy way to serve this chutney is to spoon it over a block of cream cheese, add some crackers and invite guests to make themselves a very chic little appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (2 L) sliced peeled and pitted peaches
  • 2 cups (500 ml) packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chopped onions
  • 2 cups (500 ml) raisins
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cups diced sweet red pepper
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground coriander
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

In large heavy Dutch oven, combine peaches, sugar, onions, raisins, vinegar, red pepper, mustard seeds, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, coriander and cayenne; bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and toffee-brown in colour, about 1 hour.

Fill hot 1-cup (250 ml) canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove any air bubbles.

Cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat. Uncover and let jars stand in canner for 5 minutes. Lift up rack. With canning tongs, transfer jars to cooling rack. Let cool for 24 hours. Makes 8 cups.

Pear and Raisin Chutney: Replace peaches with diced peeled and cored pears. Just as yummy as the peach version.

Apricot Ginger Chutney

Truly gingery, this chutney is adapted from one by Madhur Jaffrey, actress, chef, TV personality, teacher and author. A rather divine chutney to accompany chicken and duck.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups (1.5 L) coarsely chopped peeled and cored apples
  • 4 cups (1 L) packed dried apricots, halved
  • 3 cups (750 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) grated fresh ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) hot pepper flakes
  • 4 cups (1 L) granulated sugar

Directions:

In large heavy saucepan, combine apples, apricots, vinegar, raisins, ginger, garlic, salt and hot pepper flakes; bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer until apricots are plumped and very tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sugar and return to simmer; cook, uncovered and stirring almost constantly, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Fill hot (1 cup/250 ml) canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove any air bubbles.

Cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat. Uncover and let jars stand in canner for 5 minutes. Lift up rack. With canning tongs, transfer jars to cooling rack. Let cool for 24 hours.

Makes 8 cups.

Apple Mint Chutney

Some chutneys benefit from a bit of mellowing before sampling, but this mint-flecked delight is ready to enjoy right away.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) chopped peeled and cored apples
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) chopped onions
  • 3 cups (750 ml) diced peeled tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) raisins
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) lightly packed chopped fresh mint or 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) dried
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each salt and cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

Using zester, remove zest from lemons. (Or pare off thin outer rind from lemons; cut into thin strips). Squeeze and strain lemon juice into large heavy saucepan.

Stir in lemon zest, apples, onions, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, raisins, mint, parsley, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until thickened, about 1 1/2 hours.

Fill hot 1 cup (250 ml) canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove any air bubbles.

Cover with prepared discs. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat. Uncover and let jars stand in canner for 5 minutes. Lift up rack. With canning tongs, transfer jars to cooling rack; let cool for 24 hours.

Makes 12 cups (3 L).

The Complete Preserving Book

This handsome, well-designed cookbook, with delicious photos and Canadian Living's tested recipes, reflects innovative contemporary trends in preserving, while honouring great classics from old Canadian kitchens and welcoming recipes from more recent Canadians' traditions. Food Editor Annabelle Waugh has included all steps a novice preserver needs to start this wonderful and fruitful kitchen activity. The content? Everything from jams and marmalades, jellies, pickles, relishes, chutneys, salsas and conserves as well as sauces, syrups, vinegars, liqueurs and seasonings. This Canadian preserving book will offer years of inspiration and pleasure to buyers.

Preserving steps:

  • Buy jars specifically designed for preserving, available in supermarkets, hardware and houseware stores such as Home Hardware and Canadian Tire. In The Complete Preserving book, these are referred to as "canning jars". Stock up on lids as a new one is needed for every jar. Wash, rinse and air-dry jars.
  • A large blue boiling water canner equipped with rack is ideal for heating jars before filling, and boiling filled jars to ensure a good seal and safe storage. Find these canners at hardware stores and retailers (see above). About an hour before the chutney is ready to put into jars, fill canner about two-thirds with water. Add empty jars, cover and heat to steaming. No canner? Improvise with large deep pot with rack in bottom.
  • Warm lids in hot water for 5 minutes before sealing jars. Check that bands are clean, unbent and rust-free.
  • To fill jars, remove from hot water; set upright on tray. Fill, ideally using wide funnel and 1/2 cup (125 ml) metal measuring cup. Leave recommended headspace; wipe rim if any chutney has dribbled onto it.
  • Centre lid on each jar; screw on band until resistance is met, tighten without straining. Arrange on rack in canner.
  • Lower jars into steaming water in canner; add enough boiling water to cover jars by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Cover, bring to boil; time boiling from this point.
  • Turn off heat; uncover and let water in canner subside, 5 minutes. Raise rack holding jars and transfer jars to a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • Wide curved canning tongs that grip jars securely are the safest way to move jars to and from canner.
  • If lid of any jar (and this is extremely rare if new lids and preserving jars are used) does not snap down, refrigerate jar and use contents within 3 weeks.

 


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