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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, May 9, 2011

A shout out to a great book

When I packed to come to go away to Florida for a month I brought my sock knitting book, a pile of mysteries from the library on their wonderful "vacation" extended loan program, and the completely best book on making pickles, relishes and chutneys I have ever read:

I love my condiments and I enjoy making anything pickled. Unlike jams and jellies that get quite complicated - that damn soft ball stage- and which you can buy and get exactly what you want just about anywhere, pickling is easy. You can also make exciting things that are very hard to find if you do a little of your own pickling, and for so little cost. Cost is important, any kind of chutneys and pickles that are at all interesting are so artisanal and boutiquey that you are paying more to accent the meal than to make it.

My son sent me this book for my birthday. At first I thought it was going to be one of those usual compendiums of standards or poorly tested recipes that had been added to just get the recipe count up. You know the kind of book I mean, I own a few of those.

However this book is anything but that. It is a brilliant collection of amazing recipes that, in the many I have tried from it, always produce a winner. In detail, this is what I love about this book, in addition to the great and successful recipes:

1. It is written from experience, lots of experience, and it shows. The advice on pickling in general is all you need to know and makes the whole process very possible even if you have never tried anything like this before.
2. Expanding on the above you can just tell these recipes have been tested to death. Things happened in my kitchen just the way the author, Jennifer MacKenzie, said they would.
3. There is a surprisingly little salt in any of these recipes. This is Major, if you are cooking for yourself or someone and want to cut back on the salt. 

I will give you an example.

When I made my lime pickle earlier in the week (I would have liked to use the recipe from this book but just couldn't source curry leaves locally) I used 10 tablespoons of salt to make 4 jars of lime pickle (and I will be careful about eating them as a result).

By contrast when I made 8 jars of Mango, Papaya and Ginger Chutney with Lime last night (recipe to follow) I used only 1 teaspoon of salt for whole batch.

Just think that one through.

Here is what one of those jars of chutney looks like, the pieces are a bit large but this establishment is knife challenged, not to worry:

Now I have to tell you that this is about as good as it gets. Even my husband, who is the expert cook in this family, stood over the sink and scrapped the pot saying "This is good, this is really, really good." Myself I have to tell you it is unbelievably good - spicy but so tasty. Blows store bought Bombay chutney out of the water. And it was so easy to make I also finalized my test pair of summer pants the same evening. I will be posting more about that tomorrow.

So this morning I emailed Jennifer MacKenzie and asked her if I could post the recipe here. She was very nice and wrote back and said I could.

So here we go: (book also has metric quantities, I used cups etc.)

Mango, Papaya and Ginger Chutney with Lime 

6 cups chopped peeled sweet mangos (look for the yellow ones)
2 cups chopped peeled papaya
2 cups brown sugar divided
1 cup finally chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup finally chopped gingerroot
1 tsp canning salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (author suggested freshly grated, I used ground from the store)
1/8 tsp cloves
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 hot red or green chili peppers, seeded and minced
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/4 lime juice, freshly squeezed

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids (book has detail on this, I brought my canning rack with me. It's necessary to do a hot water bath if you are going to keep it).

2. In a large bowl, gently combine mangos, papaya and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, set aside.

3. In a large pot, combine the remaining brown sugar, onion, ginger, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vinegar and water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until onion is soft and liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in mango mixture and chile peppers, increasing heat to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for about 30 minutes or until fruit is translucent but still holds its shape. Stir in lime zest and juice.

4. Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving  1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot chutney. Wipe rim and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until finger-tip tight.

5. Place jars in canner and return to boil. Process (this means full boil with about an inch of water over the jars in the canner- my note ) for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours. Check lids and refrigerate any jars that aren't sealed.

Excerpted from The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie © 2009 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This is soo good.


Bunny said...

Looks fabulous! I also love "putting food by" and pickles and jellies are my faves. Have you ever made watermelon pickles? Tops on my flavor list.

Barbara said...

No Bunny I haven't eaten or made watermelon pickles - just added them to the list. Thanks for the idea.

Shelly said...

I have never made pickles, chutneys etc. but love eating them. This recipe sounds so yummy I think I will have to try it next summer when I can get mangoes again.