BEFORE we go any further let me make one thing perfectly clear - making homemade relishes and chutneys is easy.
For some reason a lot of people find the thought of home canning intimidating, but nothing could be further from the truth. The one piece of equipment you'll need to invest in is a pair of canning tongs - there's no other safe way to remove processed canning jars from boiling water. For instructions on sterilizing jars and processing in hot water visit the Bernardin website: www.home-canning.com. If you're making small quantities you don't have to process the jars, just store them in the fridge. They taste good right away, but allowing chutney or relish to age for a couple of weeks before using definitely improves the flavour. I like to make lots of small jars to give as gifts.
Try chutney or relish with meat pies, cold meats or sausages, on hot dogs and burgers, as an addition to a cheese platter, in sandwiches, with curries, on top of a round of melted Brie or dolloped on a block of cream cheese as a super-quick appetizer to serve with crackers.
From the pages of Canadian Living magazine.
2 cups chopped cucumber (unpeeled)
1 cup each of chopped red, yellow and green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup kosher or pickling salt
4 cups chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes (immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds, then in ice cold water, then peel)
3 cups white vinegar
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup tomato paste
In a large glass or ceramic bowl combine the vegetables and the salt; cover with boiling water and let stand for 1 hour. Drain; rinse under cold water and drain well. In a large heavy stainless steel or enamel saucepan bring to a boil the tomatoes, vinegar, mustard seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the sugar and the drained vegetables; bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently (uncovered), stirring often, until thickened, approx. 20 minutes. Stir in tomato paste about five minutes before the end of the cooking time. Fill and seal hot jars; process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Makes about seven cups.
1 head of garlic
2½ cups chopped peeled tart apple (like Granny Smith)
2 cups chopped peeled peaches (make sure they're ripe)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1¼ cups cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
½ tsp each ground allspice and kosher or pickling salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
Wrap the whole head of garlic in a double thickness of foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until very soft. Cool; remove foil.
With scissors snip the tip from each clove and squeeze out the garlic, removing any bits of papery husk. Chop the garlic paste finely. Add the garlic and all the remaining ingredients to a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Ladle chutney into hot jars, leaving ½ inch space; seal and process for 10 minutes in hot water. Makes about six cups.
RIPE TOMATO CHUTNEY
4 cups coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 medium tart apples, peeled and diced
1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
¾ cup golden raisins
½ cup cider or red wine vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, cumin and allspice
Place all ingredients in a large heavy stainless steel or enamel pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the mixture boils; reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes or until chutney reaches desired consistency. Stir often to prevent sticking, especially as chutney gets thicker. Ladle into hot jars and process for 10 minutes in hot water. Makes about two cups.