Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pickles and Preserves

Pickling vegetables, fruits and chilies was part of the cooking routine for my mother and older sister while I was growing up in England. My father does not like spicy curries but loves hot pickle and chutney on the side so we always had a large jar of limes, chilies and ginger sunning on the kitchen window ledge. I think mum placed it there to accelerate the softening of the limes and to keep the mold in check.

Sadly I was too wrapped up in reading and watching television to take any real notice of these activities. However, last year on my visit to the U.K., I quizzed my sister about pickles and watched mum blending her scrumptious mint chutney. Knowing I would have lots of time on my hands on this voyage, I bought some spices in Vancouver and limes and chilies in Mexico. In Los Frailes, I canned a couple of jars of lime and chili pickle before our passage to the Marquesas. We opened the first jar a couple of days ago while entertaining friends and I received very positive feedback. In the Marquesas where fruits were abundant, I cooked and canned some mango and sour apple (pomme citrine) chutney and have been experimenting with coconut chutney. I am truly enjoying the experience and Chris is the perfect guinea pig as he has no authentic Indian reference to judge the results.

It would have been fun making marmalade as citrus fruits were plentiful in the Marquesas but we could not afford to use up so much propane.

Here is my recipe for coconut/mint chutney:

Grated or minced fresh coconut meat from one small coconut
1 heaped teaspoon of crushed dry mint or one tablespoon of fresh chopped mint
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or less if you have high blood pressure)
1 hot green or red chili (crushed)
juice from half a lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon sugar

Blend all by hand and allow to sit for half an hour before serving. Keep the remainder in the fridge or the coolest place on the boat.

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