Chutney Making Tips
The pans used for pickles and chutneys etc should be made of thick gauge metal which is not affected by the acid in the vinegar. The best types are aluminium, stainless steel or those lined with porcelain or enamel. Car boot sales are a great place to pick up the old fashioned preserving pans.
Unlined brass or copper pans must not be used as the acid reacts with the metal forming traces of poisonous salt – copper acetate. Although I am sure not many people use brass or copper pans these days.
The coverings for pickles and chutney jars should be really airtight to prevent evaporation of the vinegar. That is why a little piece of waxed greaseproof on top of the chutney, followed by the cellophane top and a lid, make sure the vinegar does not evaporate and dry out the chutney.
What is Chutney
Chutneys are a blend of fruit and vegetables with vinegar, sugar and spices cooked to a thick consistency; a long simmering time gives a pleasantly smooth, mellow flavour. An amazing variety of flavours and colours can be obtained by combining different fruits and vegetables. Chutneys were always made at the end of the summer when copious amounts of fruit and vegetables were left over and people made chutneys so the fruit and vegetables were not wasted.
If you have to buy the fruit and vegetables to make your chutney it costs more but you can look out for bargains in the market at the end of the day. Many market sellers are only too glad to get rid of a bag or two of vegetables. Supermarkets often mark down the fruit and vegetables at a certain time of day – try and find out when this is and then buy, buy, buy
Chutney is characteristically soft with an even texture, the ingredients must be either minced or finally chopped, and no whole spices should be included. That would not be nice biting into a peppercorn.
Chutney goes so well with so many foods but I think the best is just to eat it for supper with a lovely chunk of bread and cheese.
Ideas for chutney
They are literally thousands of chutney types, here are 10 popular types to get you started:
- Apple and Tomato
- Apple and Green Pepper
- Apricot chutney
- Damson chutney
- Date and Apple chutney
- Gooseberry Chutney
- Pear Chutney
- Plum and Apple Chutney
- Rhubarb chutney
- Beetroot chutney