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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Spiced Pumpkin Chutney

    I made the Spiced Pumpkin Chutney yesterday from Nigella's Kitchen book. After looking at the jars this morning I noticed some tiny air pockets in each one. Will this be a problem?

    From the nigella team:

    If chutney or jam is to be stored then it is essential that they are placed promptly into properly sterilized jars and sealed properly. Prolonged contact with air increases the risk of airborne bacteria being introduced which can cause the chutney to spoil, so jars should be sterilized just before using and there should be as little air as possible in the sealed jar.

    If the jars were sterilized thoroughly and the chutney was still quite warm when it went into the jars then a few small air bubbles shouldn't cause a problem. Always fill the jars to the top (excluding the screw top neck section) and it is helpful to gently tap each filled jar a few times on the outside with a wooden spoon before sealing, to expel as many air bubbles as possible. Chutney and other vinegar-based preserves should always be sealed with non-metallic lids (use plastic-lined lids or seal with a wax disc and cellophane wrapper before adding the lid) as metal will react with the acid in the vinegar.

    Preserves should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place. Once opened they should be kept in the fridge and consumed within a month of opening. If on opening there are bubbles of gas in the preserve or it tastes "fizzy" or has an off smell or mould on the surface then the perserve should be thrown away and not eaten.

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