Spiced Pear Chutney

(Nov. 26, 2021) One of the most common ways to define information is to describe it as one or more statements or facts that are received by a human which have some form of worth to the recipient.

This approach to information leads one to emphasize the meaning and use of a particular message.

Information is in abundance, but how we process the value of its characteristics is the underlying factor that ultimately defines purpose.

Jams, jellies, preserves, compotes, marmalade and chutney contain some combination of fruit, sugar and pectin – a natural fiber found in most plants that helps cooked fruit add structure to their texture.

However, there are differences and a seasoned cook should know the variance. Let us take a quick review so clarity comes to the forefront.

Jelly is made from fruit juice, which is extracted from cooked, crushed fruit. The resulting juice is then heated with sugar, acid and powdered pectin for consistency.

Jam, which is made from chopped or pureed fruit, is cooked down with sugar. While similar to jelly, jam’s texture is noticeably thicker than jelly.

Preserves contain more fruit than jellies or jams, and the fruit is chopped into larger pieces or preserved whole.

Marmalade is the name for preserves made with citrus, since it includes the citrus rinds as well as the inner fruit and pulp.

Compote, a cousin to preserves, is made with fresh or dried fruit and is cooked at a low temperature in a sugar syrup.

Chutney is a condiment that is also made with fruit and sugar, along with vinegar and some sort of pepper. Classic chutney is cooked for a significant amount of time and is sweet, savory and spicy.

Just when we think clarity is in the air, allow me to add relish to the equation of specifics. Chutney and relish are often used interchangeably; however, there is a distinction.

In general, relishes are sweet and hardly cooked, which is not characteristic of chutneys.

Chutneys can be dated back to 500 B.C. The techniques used by those living on the Indian subcontinent originally applied to fruits. Spices, vinegars and heat were added and the delectable spread became known as chutney.

Chutney is easy to make and can spruce up any dish. There are no set ingredients, just keep in mind that chutney is sweet, savory and spicy.

It is important to taste chutney as one is cooking it. The natural sweetness and juices vary with individual fruits. Also, as the chutney reduces, flavor components change and should be adjusted according to personal preference.

Chutney needs to be cooked in a heavy bottomed pan with the lid on for 30 minutes to ensure the fruit gets soft. Then, one should remove the lid so the chutney can reduce and thicken. You will have to constantly stir so the mixture does not burn due to the high level of sugar.

Chutney freezes very well. As a result, I like to double the recipe and store for future use.

Spiced pear chutney is perfect accompaniment for a fall dish. Pears, apples and dried figs give the chutney structure.

The dark figs and red bell pepper also add contrast in color, which is important to the beautification of the chutney.

Rice vinegar, fresh ginger, ground coriander and mustard seeds gives the chutney its unique flavor.

Crushed red pepper flakes deliver the spiciness that constitutes chutney.

Leftover turkey, grilled pork and baked chicken pair beautifully with spiced pear chutney.

Spiced pear chutney also makes great gifts. Christmas will be here before we know it. Spiced pear chutney presented in an 8-ounce Mason canning jar with holiday ribbon is a thoughtful, homemade gift.

In addition, spiced pear chutney can embellish your holiday table setting. Simply attach name tags to a 4-ounce Mason jar filled with spiced pear chutney. It is the details that make special moments memorable.

There is no dish that can add a boost of flavor to one’s menu like chutney. If one has never tried it, you have no idea what you are missing. Enjoy!

Spiced Pear Chutney

Ingredients

1 large yellow onion, medium chop

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup rice vinegar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup chopped dried figs

2 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds

4 teaspoons fresh ginger

1/3 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

kosher salt to taste

3 cups peeled, chopped pears

2 cups peeled, chopped apples

1 red bell pepper, stem removed, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. In a medium, heavy bottomed pan, heat canola oil over medium-low heat. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, figs and seasonings.

2. Add pears, apples and bell pepper and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

3. In the meantime, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon juice from the chutney in a small bowl. Make sure all the lumps are out. This will help the chutney to thicken.

4. Remove lid, mix the slurry into chutney, and continue to simmer until it is thick and there are no liquids left. As the chutney gets thicker, you will need to stir it more often. Taste the chutney to see if any adjustments are necessary. Serve chutney at room temperature.

Secret Ingredient – Creativity. “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

– Napoleon Hill

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