Canning Therapy



Bill is in Portland at Quilt Market and I decided to invite one of Sophie’s friends over for a special Saturday Girls’ Night dinner out and a sleepover. While the girls were playing cards and racing around the house having fun, I thought about Kathreen and Rob and their kids. In the midst of sadness I always turn to making because making is inherently optimistic. I had never canned any chutney so I decided that this would be the perfect time. Bill teases me that having a pantry of jars of things I’ve made is very comforting to me. Not that in an emergency I’m going to live off of chutney but it’s nice to have homemade gifts ready to go and something special in the house for unplanned visitors.

I used Alton Brown’s Mango Chutney recipe. Disregard the prep time as the chopping and measuring was time consuming but worth it. At least where we live, finding 5 mangoes all ripe at the same time is unlikely so I bought equally unripe ones a week ago and waited for them all to ripen. For the portion that I planned to can, I shaved 10 mins off the cooking time as that was the time that would be needed in the water bath to seal the lids. The portion I planned to use immediately I continued to cook for the recommended time. That strategy worked well. For condiments like chutney and pickled onions and such, I use a combination of 4 oz and 8 oz jars and give smaller jars to smaller households.

The recipe made more than is shown here and more than the recipe suggests (which is why it’s ideal for canning) but the rest was given to friends or refrigerated. One warning: don’t make this recipe if you ever want to enjoy store-bought chutney again. Store-bought chutneys are much heavier on the sweetness while this is wonderfully fruity and flavorful. In addition to eating chutney with Indian food which we cook frequently at our house, I also love it as an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers.

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