Serve spicy-sweet mango chutney as a relish or to brighten up an otherwise plain sandwich.
August is peak season for so much fruit, it’s hard to choose which to preserve. I used to go hog-wild at the market and carry home pounds of that juicy, perfumed, vividly colored produce. Fruit wines, liqueurs, jams and chutneys. Mason jars and bottles all over the kitchen – all over the house. But eventually, the kids grew up and went their independent ways, the family group dwindled, and I found that life demanded downsizing my shopping and cooking.
It’s still a big satisfaction, putting little dishes of pickles or chutney on the dinner table, or bringing them out to make an ordinary meal special for guests. But I’ve reduced the number of annual ferments and preserves.
What's the tally? I made a fresh geranium flower liqueur to replace a bottle that broke. And a limoncello. You can never have too much limoncello on hand. Two liqueurs. Only one jam, strawberry and a couple of chutneys. My favorite is mango, so good spread on sliced bread and topped with chicken salad. Or a plain white cheese. I like to put a couple of small bowls of chutney on the table when I'm serving roast chicken.
- This recipe is unusual in that it calls for brining the mango overnight before beginning to cook.
- To keep the fresh fruit chunks attractive, I suggest finishing the jammy part separately – instructions below.
- Use any chili or hot pepper to taste. Cayenne flakes are conveniently measurable.
- 2 large, very slightly under-ripe mangoes
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 2 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 shallot, diced fine
- 2 teaspoons cayenne flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pitted and chopped dates
Cube the mangoes. Best is to peel them whole, cut quarters off the long way, and cut the long, wide strips into cubes about 1 1/2″.
Place the mango cubes in a large bowl with the salt and water in it. Allow to sit in the brine overnight.
The following day, drain the liquid from the mangoes and set the fruit aside.
Boil the sugar and vinegar over medium heat.
Add the mango cubes to the vinegar syrup.
Add the ginger, garlic, shallot, cayenne flakes, cinnamon, raisins and dates.
Bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and cook for about 1 hour over low heat, uncovered.
Remove the mango chunks from the pot, together with some of the raisins and dates.
Blend the remaining syrup with its dried fruit and spices – I used a stick blender – off the heat, of course! The chutney will thicken and become jammy. Cook for a few minutes.
Return the mango chunks to the pot, stirring them in gently, and cook another few minutes until everything is re-incorporated and very hot again.
Now either remove from the heat and cool, putting the chutney into a very clean, very dry jar for storage in the fridge – or use normal canning procedure for hot preserves.
I usually store my chutneys in the fridge, and they keep well for up to a year.
Either way, allow a month before serving, in order for the flavor to mature.
Related Topics: Desserts