Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Have You Tried Chutneys?

Have you tried chutneys for your favorite roast? Sweet or spicy, this condiment is becoming more and more popular, but some people don't know exactly what it is. 

Courgette and Tomato Chutney 

This (photo above) is an example of a seasonal glut of fruit and vegetable preserved for the colder months. Pot them up prettily! You'll love some easy to make chutney recipes, at the BBC Good Food.
History of Chutneys

Chutney began in the 1600's as luxury pickled goods made from fresh fruits and spices originating in India. During the colonial regime, the British brought the chunky and spiced condiment which was mostly mango chutney in sticky syrup to Europe, which has spread to its whole empire reaching Africa and the Caribbean. In the late 1800's, chutney has become popular in Europe and North America using local farm grown ingredients and other unripe fruits as substitute to mango, until stored chutneys became a favorite condiment for meat and fish.

Chutney took a take-off fame in the 19th century as plain homemade jams boomed into spiced fruit and vegetable. It was the very long experience of jam-making that has expanded to the combination of fruits or vegetables in sugar and spices, finally called chutneys. Its conventional blend describes mildness, sweetness, sourness and a lot of spicy-ness in flavor making it a well-acclaimed accompaniment to a main dish. 

Beginner's Pepper-Peach Chutney by Mother Earth News

Taste Profile in Chutneys

Taste in chutneys is derived from the natural interaction of fruit acid and essences coming from the various ingredients used. The uniqueness of its taste and flavor depends upon the kind of fruit or vegetable selected for the pairing, and textures that range from smooth to coarse chopped preserves and pickles. 

Serving Suggestions

Chutneys make a perfect accompaniment to foie grass, or fish with rice. May be served cold or warm and can be used to enhance the flavor of mayo-based salads and casseroles. Chutneys are best condiment to roasted meats, great when drizzled over greens, risotto or polenta, best for marinades or poured over fresh fruits or ice-creams.

Sweeter chutneys make an interesting spread on breads and pastries. To suit any taste, chutneys, cover a dip of oriental cuisine and Mediterranean touch for a fuller spread of a spicy gastronomical delight.

How to Store Chutneys

To keep chutney fresh and safe for a few weeks, store in jars with tight-fitting lids to reduce exposure to air microbes. Refrigerate.