Mango Chutney

There is nothing like mango chutney.  As a condiment for a very rare steak.  As a topping for brie and crackers.  As a spread on basically any sandwich involving proscuitto. 

There is only one problem with mango chutney: it is kinda sorta expensive.  Not expensive in the fleur de sel or vanilla pod or flight to Tokyo way, but expensive in the way that that shouldn’t cost that much and only does because only like 2 companies make it.

So, since I live in South Florida and since mangos are in season here and since everybody has a mango tree it seems, and since one of my friends was trying to get rid of a ton of mangos, I decided that it would be a good time to (A) make a lot of chutney and (B) learn how to can and can said chutney.

So I did, and here is how I did it.

I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com which I thought sounded OK, which ended up being too sweet for my taste, even after halving the suggested sugar amount, and not hot enough for my taste, but c’est la vie (why am I in a French mood?).  I will just have to make more chutney.

Regardless of the recipe, and regardless of what you’re canning, here is some advice about canning: just go to Wally World, a.k.a Walmart.  They have what you need .  Spend around $40 on supplies and you are set for life (or until you really get into canning and realize that doing 3-4 jars at a time is annoying).  And don’t put the head space tool in the hot anything because it will completely melt/bend out of shape, just use a clean / heated knife to get those air bubbles out (although, my chutney has some air bubbles and it seems just fine).  Follow the instructions in the kit, or go to your local library and get a canning book.

To make chutney, get a lot of mangos.

Then, cut up the mangos by slicing off the broader side of the mango as close to the pit as possible without cutting the pit, although that is OK because you can just clean it off later.

Then you slice the mango’s sides off, and then slice the to large halves in similar-sized slices, then cut away the skin thusly:

Then you chop your slices into smaller squaresand then put them in a large plastic bag.  You can do this step up to 2 days prior and leave the bag in the fridge.  I guess you may be able to get away with leaving the bag in the fridge longer, but this is how long mine were in the fridge, so I don’t want to push your luck unknowingly.

Once you have your mangos, you can go ahead and follow the directions for the mango chutney.  With the recipe I used, you would put together the vinegar + sugar + spices + hot peppers and boil the mixture down for a half hour.  It would look like this:

and clear out your sinuses and anyone else’s sinuses who happened to be present in the house you are doing this in.  In retrospect, I should have opened the windows.  It was really kinda strong.  But the smell disbursed nicely and quickly, so it wasn’t so bad.

Then, you cut up some onion and some ginger.  I actually went to a local farmer’s market and got the ginger I used in this recipe.  This ginger was amazing.  It was the freshest and cheapest ginger I had ever experienced.  I have heard that to peal ginger you can use a spoon.  But this is silly as what you cut off of the ginger to get the skin off isn’t a whole lot and the spoon method doesn’t work.  Now, if I were grating and not chopping the ginger, I wouldn’t bother peeling it a la Nigella because the skin would just be hidden bits of extra fiber.  And fiber is good.

Once you have all your ginger and onions and raisins (oh yeah, this recipe called for raisins.  I like raisins, so I let them be in the recipe.  I used to not like raisins but that was in relation to a carrot cake.  That period of my life is over now, and raisins are OK again) then you can put them all in the pot and boil away.  At this point, the pot will look something like this:

or a big foamy mess.  After ANOTHER half hour, you get this:

See all the raisins that are all plumpy and deliciously filled with sugar!  They are pretty.  But then, you dump in your mangos – carefully – and have this beautiful pot to look at:

There is something about the color of mangos.  Fire yellow?  Burnished yellow?  Not quite orange yellow?  I love the color of mangos.  Until it stains my white shirt. 

Anyways, then you go ahead and mix in the mangos until you really can’t see much of that gorgeous color anymore:

And let it boil away for ANOTHER half hour until you get a deliciously gooey dark brown mango chutney:

Now, to me, this seemed way too liquidy.  It seemed that way, but it wasn’t, because by the time I did the canning/jarring it was perfect.  Of course, the process of this canning/jarring was not as perfect as I would have liked.  Let’s just say that it’s a bad idea to put all of your lids in one pot of boiling water at once because they will stick together, then they’re hot and you can’t very well pull them apart with your fingers or you will end up with burns.

Regardless, you put your chutney into the jars using the special canning funnel you’ve purchased at Wally World:

Here you can see all of the tools:

Now all you have to do is set the sealed jars down in boiling water enough to cover them for 15 minutes and voila!  You’ve canned.  A few notes on this process.  First, to make sure you ahve boiling water, just keep a kettle boiling water so you can add water as needed to fill the pot to cover the jars.  Second, use the tongs to lift out the jars, because lifting up and down on your canning basket will just cause the jars to tip over and that is bad.

Also, “fingertip tight” has no meaning.  Just screw the lids down with the bands until they’re tight, but not so tight that you can’t unscrew them again.

It was a fun time making this chutney.  I’m going to do it again, probably this weekend.  If it ever stops raining so I can go get me some mangos.

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