Most chutneys have a base of either fruit or vegetables or a combination of both with added ingredients of either dried or ground spices, dried fruits, garlic and onions.
I prefer ground spices but if you have none available simply double the amount of whole spices and tie them up into a small square of muslin. Remove at the end of cooking.
The variety of spices and dried fruit in any given recipe may be altered as long as the proportions of fruit, vegetables, sugar and vinegar remain the same to ensure the correct consistency.
Apples, plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, are a few of the bases for chutney.
White, malt, cider or spiced vinegar can all be used.
White vinegar is our preference.
Good chutneys have a reasonably smooth texture and a mild flavour. A slow and gentle cooking achieves this.
Brown or raw sugar is favourable to white sugar.
Wooden spoons are always used with chutneys or relishes as metal spoons can give a metallic taste to the end result.
Keep a special wooden spoon for chutneys only and label it with a big “CH” as the flavours penetrate the wood and you certainly don’t want to stir custard with it! This mistake has been made in our kitchen! I kid you not! With any preserve containing vinegar, it is essential that the lids are vinegar resistant as vinegar corrodes metal.
I use jars with plastic lids or jam covers with foil moulded over the top of the jar. Sterilize jars in the oven at 120 degrees C for at least 30 minutes.
Fill jars whilst hot and seal tightly. All chutneys must be stored in a dry, cool and dark place.