When I was living abroad I came back to visit Australia on a few occasions and every time I would get some of my mum’s chutney (usually tomato) to take back with me. Fortunately I didn’t ever have any breakages en route.
I love chutney, all kinds but in this case I mean a preserve made with vinegar and sugar which has been cooked down into a deliciously sweet savory concoction. I think its that combination; of vinegar and sugar that makes chutney so fabulously addictive to my palate. Of course the word chutney is originally an Indian word and it is from there that the concept of chutney was originally born. Having said that in my experience chutney in India often meant a fresh chutney made to eat that day although the other types are also common. Todays post is about a preserve which wont be ready to eat for the next 6-8 weeks at least.
I have harvested quite a few of both my own and my fathers beetroot in the last few weeks and I am a bit beetrooted out when it comes to salads and side dishes hence the desire to preserve some. Well that and the fact that my 5 year old is a big fan of beetroot chutney. Last time I made this I made it with sultanas but this time I used dates. I was reading an Eastern European cookbook at the library which included a recipe for a dip made from beetroot and dates, so if a dip why not a chutney or so the logic went… if you don’t like or want to use dates just replace them with the same weight of either sultanas or raisins (you may also want to reduce the vinegar quantity slightly as I find dates sweeter than sultanas or raisins). Because this chutney needs 6-8 weeks to mellow in the jar I have to admit to not having tried it in the state it will be served in. However the sultana form was delicious and it tasted good during the cooking so I don’t see why it won’t taste great in a couple of months. This is a fairly sweet chutney.
Beetroot & Date Chutney (This makes about 1.5 litres of chutney, or in my case 5 jars.)
- 650g of beetroot – or thereabouts.
- 250g of onions – chopped into small dice
- 650ml apple cider vinegar
- 200g apples (preferably cooking apples but any you have available should be fine) – peeled and cut into small dice
- 225g dates – chopped
- 1 tblspn ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- about 450g sugar (you may need a bit less if you use sweet apples, have very sweet beetroot or like your chutneys a little less sweet)
First cook the beetroot. I usually roast mine – wrap whole washed (but not peeled) beetroot in foil and place on an oven tray in a 200 degree oven for about an hour (depending on the size of the beetroot). Test with a fork, for chutney I cook them until they are the fork goes in really easily. Remove from oven but leave in their wrappers to cool a bit – this will let them steam and make it easier to remove their skins. The skin should pretty much rub off them, although occasionally I do have to help it along a bit.
Once the beetroot is cooked and peeled, cut it into small dice. By small dice I mean about 2-3mm square cubes (or thereabouts). Set aside.
Place the onion and half the vinegar in a saucepan (or preserving pan), bring to the boil then simmer for about 5 minutes or so until the onion starts to soften. Add the apple & dates and continue cooking until the apple starts to soften. Add beetroot, ginger, chilli & salt with half the remaining vinegar. Simmer gently until it thickens. Add the remaining vinegar with the sugar, continue cooking until it thickens again.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal. It should be ready to eat in a couple of months.
I’m sharing this recipe as part of Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard over at the Garden of Eden. Head over and check out what everyone else has preserved.
P.S: 02/01/2012 – We just opened the first jar of this chutney – the verdict: sweet but delicious. Definitely worth making again.