Wherever we go, the TRJFP Box of Tricks goes too, to help make our intercepted ingredients a little more tasty: salt and pepper, assorted flavourings, maybe a whisk. Really, it could be simply a giant tub of chutney – it’s in practically everything we make. Don’t worry, we’re not turning you all into sugar junkies; just a spoonful in a pot of kale and hot water gives you soup. And, as its very purpose is to preserve perishable foods, it both keeps for ages and is the ultimate last-ditch waste avoidance measure.
Fully embracing that idea, chutney is now the first thing that comes to mind whenever there is a surplus of any ingredient: beetroot, apples, carrots, plums. A recent courageous attempt with melon was, in spite of its water content and subtle flavour, such a spicy success that when met with a glut of rejected fruit salad, I felt invincible.
1 medium onion, chopped
1kg fruit salad (this one was apple, melon, pineapple, grape and pear but, as discussed, anything goes)
250ml cider/white wine vinegar
- In the largest pan you have, fry the onion in a little vegetable oil over a very gentle heat until soft.
- Add the fruit and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil (the juice from the fruit should be enough liquid) and then simmer for 20 minutes until the fruit is a little mushy.
- Add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved, then stir in the vinegar. Return to boiling point and boil for at least 10 minutes. It is likely to be an unappealing brown colour by this point.
The chutney will keep for several days in an airtight container but if you have lots of it, it is worth preserving it in jars. Warm as many jars as you need in hot water, then place them on a tray in the oven at 100°C for 10 minutes. Pour the hot chutney into the jars, leaving a gap at the top, and seal them immediately with the lid. As the chutney cools, a vacuum is created in the gap and the seal becomes truly airtight – your chutney will keep almost indefinitely.
Except it won’t, because you’ll eat it with every meal.