Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tonight for Dinner: Chutney with a Side of Chutney

A very strange thing happened to me yesterday.  I was sitting home,  buried in an over-sized sweater, tucked under a blanket, listening to the wind whip in what was (sadly) the biggest snow storm that the Midwest has and probably will see this year, and drinking a brandied hot-coco, when I realized: it's almost spring.

What are you talking about, Kate?  Your past three posts were about the fact that it's almost spring.  And, plus, it's March 3rd.  It won't be spring in Wisconsin for almost two months now.

Okay, sure.  But it's March.  It's only going to get better from here.

And my pantry is still packed with all the jars of goodies I squirreled away in the fall.

And I have no clue what to do with any of them.

Last fall was my first experience with canning, and I didn't know what I was doing.  In retrospect, that fact is very clear.   Not enough of some things, and far too much of others.  I'm actually really surprised that I don't have enough tomatoes.  I  canned a LOT of tomatoes, but most of them went into spaghetti sauce.  Which I'm working through without concern.  I think I did just the right amount of chunky spaghetti sauce, and probably not enough tomato sauce.  I didn't can any whole or chopped tomatoes, thinking that I could just use frozen tomatoes - of which I started with three gallon sized freezer bags.  I'm down to half a bag of those, and they are not a great substitute for canned whole or chopped tomatoes.  I also, kind of on a whim, canned a few jars of bruschetta topping.  I had a few tomatoes left and did a half batch, just to use them up.  I thought it would be something fun to bring to parties or serve at Christmas.  I wish I had done much more than that.  No, I'm not slamming the bruschetta, but it is the perfect topping for salads.  Even better, in my opinion, than the tasteless tomatoes you get in the grocery store during the winter. 

So, next fall, more tomatoes.  And, to make room for those tomatoes, less chutney.

I don't know what I was thinking canning four kinds of chutney?  What does one do with that much chutney?  What is chutney, anyway?  What defines a chutney?

According to Wikipedia, chutney is "a condiment used in South Asian cuisine that usually contains a spice and vegetable mix."  In addition, "there is no limit to the number of chutneys as it can be made from virtually any vegetable/fruit/herb/spices or a combination of them."

So, it's really whatever you want to put together and call a chutney?  Hmm... no wonder there's so much of it.

I've got a couple other things that in theory seems good, but I just have too much of: pickled zucchini, pickled fennel, pickled beets... they're all good, but what do I do with all of them.  The same goes for the apple pie filling, which I have to eat because it was SUCH a hassle to make

And, on top of that, I still have veggies in the freezer.  Corn, bell peppers, shredded zucchini, rhubarb...  especially that rhubarb.  Rhubarb is one of the first real crops of spring, and my rhubarb plant is... overzealous... to say the least.  (That raises some good questions for my ongoing question list for the Local Farmer Open House on the 17th.  When I get my CSA, what happens if there is an item I just don't want?  Can I say "no rhubarb?"  How much zucchini will I get?  Because if it's a lot I don't want to plant any of my own.  I'll save that space for something else.  Will there be blueberries?  Is there any way to guarantee there won't be?  I am extremely allergic to blueberries, and if some ended up in my basket, I'd be afraid to eat anything in there.)  I don't want to have more rhubarb coming in when I've already got old rhubarb stashed away in the freezer.

So, just like the cherry contest, my kitchen is now turning into an episode of Chopped.  Only, this time, the basket contains... stuff in a jar!  All kinds of stuff.  Delicious stuff from a jar.

And, if you want some chutney (green tomato, yellow tomato, apple onion, and... yes... rhubarb), just let me know.  I'm fairly certain I can hook you up.


  1. NO blueberries! I like you best alive.

  2. Ironically, as I sit hear reading this, I'm eating blueberries. Hopefully you won't die from that! Strangely, I don't usually eat blueberries, they're not my favorite, but after reading about all the health benefits, I thought I'd give them another try. I think I've discovered I like blueberries much more than blueberry-flavored anything! I don't think they'll become a staple around here, but maybe a nice change once in a while.

    And if you want to unload some chutney, I'll give it a try. No idea what it is or what to do with it, but hey, you want rid of it, I'll take it.