Sunday, December 18, 2011

Can-Do Attitude: Mrs. G's Chutney

As it goes, I found myself surrounded by South Africans on a near daily basis... Well, at least one, but upwards of 10-15 on the weekends. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that I'm getting used to different flavors and products that you don't regularly find in America.

One prime example of this is Mrs. Ball's Chutney.  There a little sweet and spice and completely yummy that complements a good grilled meat, like sausage, chicken, pork, or anything that could be accented with it's peachy flavor.

The problem?  A bottle like this at a South African or British import store runs about $6, and it's a pain to go to one of these stores for a condiment.  My response?  Find a recipe and can it ourselves!

Sorting through online blogs, I found this recipe repeatedly.

I love recipes that are in metric, really I do.  However, when I'm grocery shopping for supplies, that doesn't really help.  So, here's what you (more or less) need (fellow, backward Americans):

2.7 C dried peaches (difficult to find, use more apricots as necessary)
1 C dried apricots
.8 gallons of brown vinegar (like malt vinegar)
11 C of white sugar
2 1/5 C of minced onions (just over 1 pound)
1/2 C of salt
1/4 C of cayenne pepper (OR LESS!!!!!!!)

To start, you need to soak your dried fruit in vinegar overnight.  It needs to be enough to coat, so between 4-8 cups.
The next day, you cook the fruit and vinegar (same from the soak before) together until soft.  Then, drain the fruit (reserving the vinegar) and put the fruit through a mill or fruit processor.

Process it to the consistency you'd like the fruit to be in the final product. I wanted it to be chunky, so that's what I chopped it to!    Next, cook your onions until almost clear, and add them (and the sugar) to your vinegar.  Also, add in your fruit at this stage. 

 At this point, you may need to add more vinegar.  It's up to you, but at this point you need to make the chutney to its final consistency.  If you want a thinner, more runny chutney, then you'll need more vinegar.  If you want it hardier, than use less.  Your call.

Finaly, add your spices and cook for an additional one to two hours.  Make sure you stir it occasionally to avoid burning.
 When I mixed everything together, I put it in my crockpot to cook it down.  That way it wasn't a burn issue, and I knew it'd be consistent.  There's a lot of cayenne in the recipe, and if you don't like the warmth, add less.  Next time, I know I'll only use about 1/8th of a cup.

Finally, when you have the color and consistency ready to be bottled (I left it about three hours -on low- because we left the house for breakfast and errands), bring the chutney back up to a boil.

Place the chutney in your hot, clean jars, leaving 1/2" of head space.

Then, you will process the jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath to help seal the self-sealing vacuum lids.  I made about 16, half pint servings.
It might not be Mrs. Ball's, but it's certainly Mrs. G's!

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