Chutney has an extensive history, with ties back in history to trading nations, foreign lands, and the idea of storing produce for the winter to preserve the summer’s harvest. For a time chutney fell out of favour, thanks in part to people having better places to store their foods. Fast forward to the present day however and chutney is well and truly back, with many people choosing their favourite chutney to pile onto their cheesy crackers.
Traditionally, chutney is a combination of fruits or vegetables, or a mixture of the two, which are chopped up and simmered with vinegar, sugar and spices. When this mixture reduces to a nice consistency it is then put into jars and sealed. People often confuse chutneys and pickles, but pickles are somewhat different – typically they are whole or very chunky pieces of fruits and veg that are preserved.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to making chutney. You can create a combination that suits your tastes and preferences, using all kinds of different fruits, vegetables, and combinations of spices. If you’re going to start making your own chutneys then there are a few things to consider in order to make it as delicious as possible:
- Don’t cut your fruit or vegetables too fine. Typically you want to end up with a nice, rustic, chunky chutney, not a flavoursome puree. Equally, it’s worth making the effort to chop things consistently; giant pieces are hard to eat.
- Stockpile jars throughout the year. Annoyingly, empty jars are often expensive – sometimes even more expensive than jars that have things in them. If you plan on making some chutneys or pickle during the autumn/winter months then remember to save jars throughout the year so that you have plenty of choice. Plus, you may come across some interesting, pretty jars that work well if you want to give your chutney away as a gift.
- Make in advance. Most chutneys are best when they’ve been left to sit for a few months, so it’s a good idea to make the chutney long before you actually want to eat it. The acids from the vinegar soften, blending with the fruit flavours, to create a more complex taste overall.
- Sterilise your jars. Make sure that you sterilise your jars properly before you use them. You can do this by popping them through the dishwasher, or washing them in hot water, before drying them in the oven for 10-15 mins at 100c.
Some favourites include a vibrant courgette and tomato chutney, a classic apple chutney or a festive chutney blend of spiced plums. Serve your creation with cheese and biscuits, cold cuts or as a wonderful addition to a Boxing Day buffet.
We think a chutney would go lovely with some crackers of biscuits from our lovely range of hampers. Why not have a look and explore the flavours?