Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL FEBRUARY 2012 Contents I ADORE CHUTNEY and given it's so easy
to make there is simply no excuse for
buying it in a supermarket. None. It's also
an exceptionally frugal way to use up all
fruit -- in fact, it's the perfect place for
seconds or slightly damaged fruit. It's also
a very simple thing to make, and right
now there is an abundance of fruit, such
as mango, plum, peach or nectarine, that
will give you incredibly delicious chutney.
Chutney can literally bring a dish together,
or make something special out of the
The preserving agents in chutney
are sugar and vinegar. I like to use Apple
Cider Vinegar with Rapadura sugar or
Apple Juice Concentrate as the sweetener.
As both of these sweeteners have little
(or no) sucrose in them, I find I invariably
need to process the finished chutney in
a boiling water bath to ensure they hold.
If I use a brown sugar (where the sucrose
is higher), it is fine to just put them into
a clean, sterile and warm jar. In a Boiling
Water Bath, the water is below, around
and above the jar. In a Hot Water Bath,
the water comes two thirds up the sides
of the jar, and takes a much longer time
for preservation. For our purposes in
this column, we are only talking about a
Boiling Water Bath, and this article is only
with reference to chutney, and is not to
be taken as any advice whatsoever for
bottling fruits/and or vegetables. Bottling
is an entirely different subject with critical
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Fowlers Vacola is a commercial example
of a hot and a boiling water bath, but not
absolutely necessary. You can use any large
pot. As long as it is deep enough for the
water to cover the tops of the jars and have
space to boil freely above and below the
jars. Allow approx 12cm above and below
the jar tops for brisk boiling. Basically, the
Fowlers Vacola system is a large pot; for
a hot water bath it has a well positioned
thermometer, and for a boiling water bath,
it has enough room.
With a stockpot, a few precautions must
be taken to protect the jars from cracking. A
wire rack must be placed on the bottom of
the pot to keep the jars from direct contact
with the heat, and to ensure the movement
of boiling water around the bottom of the
jar. Some people wrap the jars in paper or
cloth to prevent rattling, but I have never
THE JARS AND LIDS
Care must be taken at all times to use
appropriate jars -- these have been
tempered to ensure they can withstand
the temperatures required. Some jars
manufactured for coffee, peanut paste,
mayonnaise and the like are not tempered
and the seals on the lid can be weakened.
There are two basic versions in Australia:
The Vacola System, which consists of a
gasket, a lid and clamps, or jars with clamp
lids and rubber gaskets. In America, you
can also find screw band lids, with
separate flat metal lids. Jars can be reused
again and again (as long as there are no
chips along the edge), but care must be
taken with the lids. Never use any with
dents or rust, because these prevent
airtight seals. Any variation in the shape
of jar tops may prevent an adequate seal
when lids are reused.
A more modern version comes with
the lid coated with a sealing compound --
these are the cheapest and most common.
During the boiling process, the air
contained in the jar will evaporate through
the pores of the special sealing compound,
thereby producing a vacuum. New lids
must be used every time.
The gasket or rubber ring must be
replaced each time you preserve -- they
are thrown away after opening. Gasket
materials are designed to soften suffic-
iently to provide an airtight seal and
maintain a vacuum in the jar when in
contact with the jar rim.
It is not necessary to sterilise jars when
using them in a boiling water bath as the
jars will be sterilised during the processing
time. All jars should be well cleaned and
scrubbed in hot, soapy water, then rinsed
PACKING THE JAR AND PRESERVING TIME
Once your chutney is ready, place the
warm or hot product into a hot jar,
otherwise it will crack. The lid is then
screwed on, and the jars are put into warm
water rather than cold (they could crack).
Place the jar carefully into the warm
water (you can buy nifty jar tongs for this)
and bring to the boil. Boil for 12 minutes --
time is always calculated from when boiling
begins. Leave the jars in the water until
they are cool enough to be handled safely.
When ready, remove the jars and place
them on thick newspaper, wood or towels
-- hot jars onto stainless steel etc can crack.
Yes, I've seen it happen. Leave the jars until
absolutely cool, overnight is good.
During the cooling process, the air will
be forced out of the jars and seals will form.
A concave hollow should be apparent in
the middle of the lid. If the seal is not true,
eat the contents or store in the fridge.
If you can't be bothered with all that
palava, then use brown sugar -- I like the
Billingtons light and dark muscovado.
When bottling, make sure to put very hot
chutney into warm (otherwise the jars
could crack) sterile jars and then screw on
the lids. Leave to sit as above.
You can use any home pot, just cook
couple of hours. It will just need constant
stirring and tending, especially as it
thickens (from reduction) towards the end.
It's incredibly worthwhile, like that little
string of pearls that redeems any outfit,
saving the day. You'll be so pleased you
did as you slather some chutney onto a
sharp cheese, or pair it with a nice legume
pate, or even add it to your favourite
© NOVA FEBRUARY 2012
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Mango chutney is one of my most favourite
things. I prefer chutney to have vivid flavour,
with a subtle sweet and sourness. They are one
of the few places I use a fruit juice concentrate
as it makes beautiful chutney. Makes 1.5 litres
approx of chutney.
• 2 kg mangoes - weighed with seed and skin
• ½ - 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 180gm / 1½ cups sultanas
• 60 gm ginger - peeled and finely diced
• 1 - 2 red chilli - seeded and finely chopped -
added to taste
• ¾ - 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 - 1½ cups apple juice concentrate
Wash the jars and lids, placing them on a
baking tray lined with a clean tea towel and
keep warm in a low temperature oven. Wash
and dry your ladle and funnel.
Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh into roughly
1 cm dice. Add to a 26 cm pot with allspice,
sultanas, ginger, a small amount of chilli to start,
¾ cup vinegar and 1 cup juice concentrate
and stir through. Very gently bring to the boil,
and continue to cook at a slow simmer until
thick -- approx 1 - 1½ hours, stirring frequently.
After about 40 mins, check for taste, adding
more juice concentrate, vinegar, and chilli if
required. Chutney is cooked when the fruit has
lost its bright colour, and takes on a much darker
and subtler tone. The liquid should also exhibit
a syrupy rather than watery appearance, and
have reduced considerably. As the chutney
gets towards the end of its cooking time, stir
frequently to avoid burning.
Bring a very large pot of water (see Boiling
Water Bath above) to a warm temperature.
Remove the jars and lids from the oven, keeping
them on their trays, and ladle the warm chutney
into the jars, using a funnel. Screw the lids on
the jars and using special tongs, lower the jars
into the boiling water. When the water comes
back to the boil, time 12 mins. Using the same
tongs, remove and place the jars on a towel or
wooden surface. Let them sit until totally cool -
you should have a concave dent in the middle
of the lid. If this has not occurred, use the filling
straight away and store in the fridge.
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