Mango and Lemon Chutney : A Perfect Preserve

You would think, given that my shelves groan under the weight of pickles and jam, I might take a year off from preserving. Or that at least is what my husband hoped, but then on Saturday I was walking through Chapel Market, near my home in Islington, and I saw five large, no enormous, mangos for £2.50. I was lost, mango chutney called to me. This I hopes illustrates one of the rules I have for preserving  and it is that you should pick what ever is good and plentiful and make your jams, chutneys and pickles from that bounty. This recipe is a family favourite and comes from my new book.

The word chutney comes from South East Asia, originally “Chatni” in Hindi, and it is mainly from the British Raj that we get our love of these flavoursome preserves. But chutneys predate our love affair with them, references tell us chutneys would be familiar to the Romans and it is said the Lord Nelson used a lime pickle to help prevent the scourge that was scurvy on Royal Navy ships.

I love the sweet, sharp, hot flavours that chutney adds to curries and, at my local Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, I always fight to keep the dishes at the table to eat with main course rather than just with the appetiser or poppadoms, which is how they are traditionally served.

I find tradition sour lime pickle a little to much for me so would not have fared well in Nelson’s Navy but this chutney, mixing sweet and salt, hits the spot for me. Adding whole lemons to traditional mango chutney transforms it to a much more sophisticated relish. Serve it with curries, casseroles and stews or mix with mayonnaise and spread it on crusty bread for delicious chicken or beef sandwiches.

Un-waxed lemons work best but if you use ones that have been coated with wax this must be scrubbed of with hot water and a scourer before you cook them.Make the chutney when mangos are plentiful, it keeps well.

Mango and Lemon Chutney : A Perfect Preserve


675g dried fruit: Dates, apricots, figs, peaches, raisins
1500 gm about 4-5 large Mangoes
2 lemons
400gm onions
60gm garlic
80gm root ginger
4 fresh red chillies
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
675g raw light brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1000ml cider vinegar.

1. Prepare the fruit and vegetables: Chop the dried fruit roughly
2. Wash the lemons under hot water scrubbing with a scorer to remove any wax and cut into quarters
3. Peel the onions and cut into large chunks
4. Peel the garlic and the ginger.
5. Cut the stems from the chillies
6. Place the lemons, onions, garlic, ginger and chillies in the oblet of a food processor and whiz until they are finely chopped.
7. Put the whole spices into a spice mill or coffee grinder and whiz until finely ground.
8. Peel the mangos and cut all the flesh from the pip. Chop this roughly
9. Have your jars ready in a hot oven 100C 200 F gas mk 2
10. Now place all the ingredients in you non-reactive pan and put this over a low heat.
11. Stirring often bring the mixture up to a simmer.
12. Cook the chutney at a moderate boil until thick, stir the pan often especially towards the end of cooking as it is then the chutney will start to stick to the bottom and may burn. Take care as when you reach this point the chutney may spit!
13. To test that the chutney is ready, pull a wooden spoon through the centre of the pan, if both sides stay apart you’re good to go, if they run together cook a little longer.
14. Take the pan from the heat and let it sit for five minutes
15. Pot the chutney into the hot jars pressing it down well. Be sure to leave a little head space by filling to the shoulder of the jar and not up the neck.
16. Screw the lids on loosely and leave to cool.
17. Once the chutney is cold check the lids are tight then label the jars

Store in a cool dark place keeps 12 months makes 2.5 kg



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