Ingredients + Recipe
Prep + Boil
I'm not sugarcoating this. I need you to understand what a truly, utterly, and horrifyingly HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS this entire project is. When browsing the I N T E R N E T for recipes, no one ever tells you that this is such a life-consuming ordeal. They just state everything in these nonchalant, concise sentences, like: "Stir over low heat for four hours," or "Now, sterilize the jars." No one ever says, "For real, it takes four hours, and you better keep it on low heat or you're gonna burn the hell out of the bottom of the pot," or "Clean up is a fucking bitch, and could take over an hour."
Jamming and preserving is such a fad these days, but don't do it unless you have a zen-like patience in the kitchen. It's really really really time consuming and is a huge energy-sucker.
This part, the jarring and clean-up, is just the absolute worst. It's so daunting that I avoided doing it for three days. By the fourth day, I knew I had to deal with it, and just finish it once and for all.
So I left my two batches of chutney in the fridge over night. I decided to consolidate the pots, even though one was considerably darker brown in color than the other.
Remember how I told you that I suspected that Batch #2 was darker in color because I possibly burned the bottom of the pot a little? Try A LOT. I basically burned the ENTIRE bottom of the pot.
Uhhh... so yah... low heat. Stir often. Got it. Also, let me comment that a pot like Le Crueset works best for this project. Not just any old heavy pot, apparently.
Here it is post-consolidation. Glad it all fit.
The chutney itself is good, but a bit sour. I suspect that my plum to other dry ingredient ratio was a bit off, and I added too much vinegar and mustard seeds. My genius Tapatio plan didn't help. So I added some brown sugar here, to try to smooth it out. But not too much, as I didn't want it to have that cloying too-much-sugar aftertaste.
Sterilizing jars. This part fucking blows, even if it's as easy as sticking the jars into boiling water. You have to place the jars juuuust right, so they all fit and are submerged in the water. Lots of hot water spilling all over the place and onto me. Not fun.
Take out after about 10 minutes.
While the jars were drying, I kept stirring the chutney. It needs to be bubbling when you put it into the jars-- I believe the heat helps sanitize and seal the jars.
It's very thick at this point and ready to go. It's a deep purple/brown color. I wish I didn't burn it, for the color's sake. Luckily, it doesn't taste burnt or anything.
Scoop hot chutney into the jars. Again, NOT EASY! It's really hot and I'm really clumsy so you can only imagine how many FBombs I was throwing while doing this.
My poor hands are so burnt after this!
Alright, so I screwed on all the lids, and decide to try the "upside down" method from when I made apricot jam. This should help seal the jars properly.
Totally doesn't work. So I tried the method stated in the actual recipe, which is to submerge the jars, with the lids on, into hot water, and boil.
This actually works, and I was able to seal all but two of the jars. Waiting to see whether or not the jars seal properly is very nerve-wracking, and I can't help but to try pushing down on the lid every other minute, despite the fact that the recipe explicitly says, "Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours." HA!
The chutney is in the jars! HOORAY!!!
Wrong. It ain't over yet, sucker!
I spent the next hour cleaning this mess. The pots, the stove top, the walls, the floors, all the little oven knobs, EVERYWHERE. The chutney was seriously all over the place.
SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!
Oh, but wait, I'm not done! So the pilot went out in the stove when I was sterilizing the jars, due to all the water spillage. Long story short, I tried to relight the pilot and fucking BROKE the stove. I called my super and he said, "Gee, I wish you would have called me before you did that-- it's a brand new stove and I'm going out of town for the next month."
*FUCK. MY. LIFE.
All this to say that I'm now a huge believer in outsourcing to third world countries, and I will be buying my chutney and all other preserved fruits and vegetables at Costco at bulk prices.
Kidding. I'm traumatized for the time being, but I just saw Christi's mom yesterday who is trying to lure me to her backyard to mine her fig tree, which is fruiting right at this very moment. Fig and lavender syrup? Fig and bacon preserves? Fig-infused vodka?
God, I'm such a masochist.
PS: The taste? It's still a bit sour, which overwhelms the flavor of the fruit. But the ginger and garlic comes through subtly, and this will go well with lamb or pork. Maybe hot dogs even? It's quite acidic so it will cut through any fatty flavors nicely.
PPS: The burned pot is still charred to the max-- I can't get it off. Super pissed.