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Chutney Making


cooksandcapers
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Hello all, my first post. I have been picking up loads of tips from the forums over the past couple of months, it’s a great site.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on why chutneys are made in the way that they are, ie chop, add sugar, add vinegar… heat, stir lots and wait ages??

We have recently done a big batch of this one (about 15 times the recipe) http://redskitchendiaries.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/weekend-project-ale-chutney/

We have been thinking about how we might cut down on time and energy costs by taking a different route, and of course getting a quality product at the end.

My understanding of preserving in this way is that you need to:

1. Stop enzyme/bacterial activity, this is done quite quickly with heat

2. Get to a pH of 4.5 or below

3. Introduce enough sugar so that the amount of available water for pathogens is decreased to an acceptable level, (which I think is a fair interpretation of water activity)

Does anyone know why you need to stand over a stove for hours to reduce the liquid, why can’t you cook the veg to the point you want it, then separate the liquid, reduce to a good consistency and pot as normal?

Any views would be greatly appreciated

Rich

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I think the original method has to do with encouraging pectin precursors to develop into pectin and to have the acid and sugar present to ensure proper activation of the pectin once formed. Without the long simmer, you won't get good gelling, at least not without adding a thickener like commercial pectin.

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I didn't think pectin would enter the fray here, but I guess that makes sense.

There's quite a lot of pectin in apples, but I guess it's the apple peel that holds the majority of it. Perhaps chucking in some pectin stock made from the apple skin would help it to set up.

thabks, I will experiment!

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You can speed up the process with a pressure cooker. The flavors seem to blend nicely when cooked this way without the prolonged simmering.

I have made a couple of the recipes on this site in a pressure cooker with excellent results.

and this section from the Pressure Cooker Cookbook has more recipes.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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