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Thursday, December 9, 2010

DIY for the Holidays: Chutneys!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 4:19 PM

click to enlarge Chutneys ― like this spicy apple and quince version ― make colorful and flavorful holiday gifts. - SHAE IRVING/HITCHHIKING TO HEAVEN
  • Shae Irving/Hitchhiking to Heaven
  • Chutneys ― like this spicy apple and quince version ― make colorful and flavorful holiday gifts.

SFoodie's weekly guide to food-crafting gifts for the holidays.

Chances are, unless you have a cultural connection to the Indian subcontinent or U.K., chutney means that jar of Major Grey's you dipped into once when making an experimental Indian meal and then let fester in the fridge door. But chutneys are an extremely diverse family of condiments, used on a daily basis to accent dishes in any Desi household.

Chutneys lend themselves to many winter fruits, so they can make colorful and flavorful seasonal gifts. And just because they're South Asian in origin doesn't mean they won't play well at the holiday table. Their zippy spice and zingy acidity make great foils to all manner of food, especially meats. Take that, Christmas goose!

(Shameless plug: I will be teaching a chutney class at 18 Reasons on Dec. 15 with the lovely Alison McQuade of McQuade's Celtic Chutneys, a true chutney maven if ever there was one.)

Pomes ― especially apples ― top the list of chutney-friendly fruits. Their crispness and sweetness make a fantastic palette to layer on the spice, whether they're combined with quince , green tomatoes, or cranberries . A pear-date mix looks to be a handy player with a holiday cheese plate. Fuyu persimmons operate very much the same way as pomes, and pair beautifully with the searing heat of habaneros.

Many chutneys derive their tartness from vinegar, but a citrus base brings freshness along with the sour. This three-day lemon chutney is sure to tingle the tongue.

Fruits are not the only candidates. Leena stewed up a carrot chutney with caramelized shallots that's sure to brighten any dish. And how about mixing up beets and oranges? That'll do.

For more chutney ideas, check out Punk Domestics.

Previous projects:

-Homemade liqueurs

Sean Timberlake is the founder of Punk Domestics, a content and community site for DIY food enthusiasts.

Follow SFoodie on Twitter: @sfoodie.

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Sean Timberlake


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