What is a vegetable or meat curry without dishes of condiments and a spicy chutney? But at $4 for a small bottle, "the good stuff" such as a delicious mango chutney is very expensive. The acids and spices add interest to bland rice and can aid in digestion. This recipe uses your available fruits or green tomatoes and makes about 6 pints of chutney, enough for 25 to 40 people.
And of course a dab of chutney puts the devil into deviled eggs and makes a wonderful accent for cream cheese or homemade yogurt cheese.
Use a true crockpot with the heating elements in the walls of the cooker, not one with the element under the pot. The process requires 2 hours covered at high, stirring once in the middle, then about 5 hours uncovered on low, until thickened to taste. May be eaten the day it is made, but gets better as it stands.
Fruits: apples, apricots, whole cranberries, underripe mangoes or papayas, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapple (canned, crushed, packed in juice), plums, green tomatoes (seeded, and chopped), rhubarb. You may use a mix, such as apricot-pineapple, pineapple should be less than half the mix. For a midwinter quickie, you can even use 2 #2-1/2 cans of whole tomatoes, seeded and drained plus a can of pineapple tidbits (reduce sugar and vinegar by half); or substitute 2 lb dried apricots, dates or peaches for the fresh fruit.
Spices: You may use pickling spices, or equal parts of cinnamon stick, mustard seed, shredded fresh ginger, whole cloves and whole allspice. Some folks add a bit of cumin seed or fennel. If you will serve the chutney with mild flavored meats, you may also want to simmer in 2-3 small whole dried red peppers, or a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Powdered spices discolor light colored chutney, so you can make a packet of whole spices. You can put whole spices in a teaball or cheesecloth sack and remove them after the two hours on high.
Put the vinegar in the crockpot and turn to high. Chunk the fruit straight into the vinegar to keep it from turning brown. Add all the other ingredients, cook covered two hours on high, stirring gently once in the middle.
To use at once: cool and serve, or save overnight to blend flavors. YUM YUM.
To save by canning: Prepare 6 1-pint canning jars and lids for canning. When the chutney finishes cooking, place into the six jars using good canning technique (no drips, etc) and process in a hot water bath as for any jam. Some folks put a short cinnamon stick into the jar with the chutney- looks nice and adds flavor.
One of the best-known commercial pickle recipes in England and Europe is Branston Pickle or Ploughman's Pickle, a spiced vegetable mixture that beautifully compliments bread and cheese. It is a sort of vegetable chutney. There are several products on the market, made by large manufacturers.
Makes 2 quarts 4 x 500 ml (pint) jars
Carrots - 250 g (9 oz), cut into 3 mm (1/8 inch) cubes
Rutabaga - 1 medium (8 oz), cut into 3 mm (1/8 inch) cubes
Garlic - 4 cloves, finely chopped
Dates - 125 g (4 oz), finely chopped
Cauliflower - 1, finely chopped
Onions - 2, finely chopped
Apples - 2 medium, finely chopped
Zucchini/Courgettes - 2 medium (unpeeled), finely chopped
Small sweet gherkins, 1 cup (about 15), finely chopped
Dark brown sugar - 225 g (8 oz)
Salt - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 4 tbsp
Cider or malt vinegar 1 1/2 cup (350 ml or 12 fl oz), for saucepan cooking or 1 cup for crockpot
Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 2 tsp, toasted and ground
Ground allspice - 2 tsp
Cayenne pepper - few dashes (optional)
Caramel coloring - (e.g. liquid browning) as desired for color