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Runny Chutney

Asked by Taxing chutney. Answered on 22nd October 2013

Full question

I have a batch of chutney that hasn't thickened. I don't really want to reduce it down as that will reduce the fruit pieces to puree. What can you suggest - cornflour or an addition of more pears with little liquid?

Our answer

When you make chutney its consistency is determined by the evaporation of liquid as the chutney cooks. So if possible you should use a wide pan as this has a larger surface area which means that liquid will evaporate more quickly and should help to prevent the fruit in the chutney from becoming too soft.

It is also a good idea to use unripe, hard or semi-ripe fruits as these will not break down during cooking as quickly as very ripe fruits. Dried fruits are always a good addition and we would suggest looking at Nigella's Christmas Chutney recipe (from Christmas) for ideas on proportions.

If the chutney is too runny then in our opinion the best solution is to put it into a pan and bring it back to the boil, then simmer rapidly until it is the required thickness. If you can do this in a couple of deep frying pans (not aluminium) then it should help to speed up the process. If the chutney has a slightly smoother texture then it is unlikely that anyone will mind that much - Nigella's Spiced Apple Chutney (from Domestic Goddess) has a smooth texture but is very popular. Otherwise some chopped dried fruits added before the re-cooking may help.

You must also be sure to re-sterilize properly any jars that you are going to use to store the chutney in before jarring the re-cooked chutney. As cooling and re-cooking chutney can carry some risks we would also suggest keeping a closer eye on the chutney when it it is stored, as it may not last as well as other chutneys.

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