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Our mangoes are starting to ripen, and this year there is a bumper crop. The possums, flying foxes, and birds get them as soon as they ripen, but if we pick them just before they start to soften and wrap them in newspaper, they ripen fine indoors, out of range of the creatures.

I remember as a child in suburban Rockhampton mangoes were so prolific in their season that they laid thick on the ground making even the air alcoholic, and even the flying foxes couldn’t get through them.

I’m not big on preserves. I can see the point when you live in a climate where several months of the year the ground is covered in snow. But otherwise it just seems like a huge amount of work to produce something that is less healthy and less delicious than the fresh in-season stuff in the garden. Many years ago I made a rule that I was not going to preserve anything unless:

1. The preserve was tastier than the original.
2. The amount of gas, electricity, or firewood it cost was proportionate to how much tastier.
3. The amount of work it took was similarly proportionate.
This recipe is one that makes it through the test!

Hot Mango and Tomato Chutney

Place in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil

4 medium under-ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced
6 under-ripe tomatoes, sliced
teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chopped onions
1 cup currants
4 red chillies, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander or culantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups malt vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
salt to taste

Simmer gently for 10 minutes and adjust the salt to taste. Then simmer very gently, stirring, until mangoes are soft and mixture is jam-like.
Bottle in sterilized jars.

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