Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fruit Chutney

 Apples, pears and choko


Since putting in our choko vine, about 4 years ago, I started making choko chutney. Not only is it a tasty way to use up choko's, but it also reminds me of my youth, when my mum used to make it.

It's thick, spicy and great with meats and cheeses. It's also great on sandwiches, toast and a favourite for making curries around here.


Ducasse bananas


Then one day, I ran out of choko's. But I did have a ridiculous amount of bananas left over from our tree, that we didn't manage to eat in time. So I thought, why not make a fruit chutney, instead?


I just substituted choko's for bananas, and also some apples and pears that needed using up too. The recipe I'm sharing, is the same as my choko chutney recipe, only the fruit has been changed.


Chopped bananas


What I like about the bananas and spices though, is it makes an almost like BBQ sauce condiment. You use a hand blender, to chop everything up, so its spreadable and easy to use. So while I remember the delicious choko chutney my mother used to make, I hope to start a new tradition with fruit chutney.

I give a guide for how much fruit to use, but substitute weight and fruits of whatever you have, to make a total of 3kg.


Displayed with cheese and salami



FRUIT CHUTNEY


Ingredients:

2 kg cooking apples (you can sub in cooking pears too if you have them)
1 kg soft bananas
1 kg onions
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 cups sultanas
1.5 litres brown (or malt) vinegar
1 kg brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon tumeric powder
2 tablespoons mixed spice (or all spice) powder
6 tablespoon cornflour


Place all chopped fruits and ingredients (except cornflour) in a slow cooker, or in a large saucepan on the stove top. You need at least 6 litre capacity, minimum, but use larger if you have it. Cook in slow cooker on high for 2 hours, once a rolling boil is achieved, or until fruits are tender. Simmer gently on the stove top for approximately 1 hour. Be your own judge in time - you want to cook the fruit and permeate the flavours.

When almost ready, mix cornflour in a bowl with a small amount of cold water, until a paste is formed. Gradually mix into chutney, stirring continuously. Once the cornflour is incorporated, simmer for another 10 minutes (stove top) or 20  minutes (slow cooker).

When done, whiz with a hand-blender until smooth. I have a metal stick on my hand blender, so I can mix straight away. Consider cooling a little if you have a plastic stick on yours (not completely if you're canning). You can have it chunky if you want, just be sure to chop your fruit the size you want it.

I preserve mine in jars in a water bath for 20 minutes each batch. You'll make around 6 litres.

This tastes even better if you leave it a week before consuming. I never can!


UPDATED TO ADD: I'm assuming everyone would remove the skins and seeds, which is why I didn't originally write it in the recipe. But I figured afterwards, I really should. :)

Also, a link which explains the role of certain foods in food preservation, as a question about salt was raised.


8 comments:

  1. Wow... you still have chokos (my plant died off in winter, waiting for it to resprout), you have bananas (can't wait to plant some, need to get water sorted first) and what a wonderful creative recipe to use up what you have at hand! Great post Chris!

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  2. Thanks Liz. :)

    That first photo was taken last year. I wanted a choko in it, because I miss my choko vine. It was cut down in order to renovate the chicken coop, and I'm hoping to start another this year. Still looking for a choko though. Bit late for that, I know, but still searching.

    What I love about preserving is, you don't have to waste the excess from your garden. Recipes which are flexible, are all the more useful. You could use some pretty interesting fruits in this recipe, and it would still taste good. Like custard apple, if there are no bananas available.

    If you want to make the choko chutney when your vine bears again, just use 3 kg of choko, instead of adding the apples and bananas. :)

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  3. That looks amazing. But did you really use a half cup of salt or is that a typo? I suppose its a large enough batch and it can be adjusted but I just want to make sure. One thing in our U.S. canning guidelines is that we are discouraged from using cornstarch as a thickener because it isn't deemed stable enough but you seem to have had good results yourself. Do you think that it can thicken on its own though? I try not to use thickeners as a general rule if there is a chance at natural pectin- unless I have to that is.

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    Replies
    1. I've reduced the salt from the recipe, which I've seen advised of using up to a cup of salt. They gave some leeway, between a half cup and full cup, so I took the reduced salt option. This is an old recipe, before refrigeration took off, so I'm assuming salt plays some part in preserving the ingredients.

      Having said that, I've updated my post down the bottom, to include a link that discusses the role of certain ingredients in preserving food. It doesn't seem to be dealing with canned foods, just curing meat, but I also thought the rest of the ingredients the link explored, was interesting.

      I would suggest you could reduce the salt again, if you want. Perhaps maybe to a quarter of a cup. The salt exaggerates the sweet and sour play in the ingredients for me. I've tried it with the full cup of salt before, and it killed the other flavours, but the half cup gives just the right amount of contrast. If you don't eat a lot of salt, then a half cup may taste awful to you - just like the full cup, tasted awful to me.

      I personally think there is enough vinegar and sugar in this recipe, to reduce the chances of bacteria thriving, so maybe you can reduce the salt?

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    2. I forgot to answer the thickening question. I imagine you could boil it for longer and it would reduce and thicken. How long for, I'm not sure. Try doubling the time. I've read that lemons can help to set jams and jellies too, so maybe you could add some lemon zest and pips in a cotton satchel, and attach it with string to the side of the saucepan. Then remove it when you're done cooking. A la, natural pectin.

      There is quite a lot of sugar in this recipe, so I can't see why it wouldn't act the same as jam?

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  4. Thats a good link. I think that American style canning can seem really paranoid but its a pretty sound science since huge amounts of research and experiments go into it. I respect the traditions of other cultures however so I appreciate this recipe.
    Looking over it again, the apples should definitely have enough pectin in them to thicken without added thickeners. The mix can be brought to 220 on a candy thermometer which can take a long time. I did that with my apricot jam and it worked. I have used lemon pith and seeds in marmalade to thicken with varied results though so its not the most reliable method for me.

    But the salt-that isn't really a preservative in this type of condiment. There are lots of chutney recipes that use only small amounts of salt to balance the flavor. Whether the recipe needs it or not is probably a matter of taste but I think in the old days it was thought that both sugar and salt were adequate preservatives in lieu of water bath canning. Salt is important to fermentation for food safety and pickles for quality as it can help a pickle retain color but mostly its there for taste if a vinegar isn't added.

    I will try this recipe out though-it looks intriging and I will let you know what changes I made and if the pectin in the apple worked as I won't be adding thickener probably.
    I hope I'm not coming across as critical of your recipe! I'm not-I just asked because I wanted to know what taste modifications might be okay to do-less salt can really ruin something as much as no salt unfortunately.

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  5. I welcome changes to recipes. You're evaluating the ingredients and methods, because its part of making personal adjustments to suit your style of cooking. I do the same with changing regular recipes to gluten free. I'm glad you're sharing because it invites others to consider changing the recipe to suit their needs too.

    I look forward to hearing how you go. Because it would be great if you could make your own recipe from this one, and have a condiment that becomes a family favourite. :)

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