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Cumin-scented mango chutney

For as long as I can remember, my family has been having a love affair with condiments. As a kid, the refrigerator door was always heavy with jars. Even when the main fridge shelves got a little low between trips to the grocery store, the door had an abundant collection of spreadable things, pickled things, dipping things and more salad dressings than any trendy-at-the-time salad bar could match. While one mustard might be enough for most families, our family had at least four - one grainy, one Dijon, one honeyed, and one jar of your standard yellow mustard. Barbecues were quite the scene. Half the contents of the fridge door would occupy the middle of the dinner table as our knives and forks clinked in and out of jars, trying to get at the goodies inside. As my brother and I got older we would tease my parents about their condiment obsession, which continues to this day (the obsession and the teasing). But, truth be told, I'm starting to think the condiment obsession is genetic and has been passed down to me. Chutneys, barbecue sauces, dipping sauces, jams, jellies, relishes, pickles - I make them all. It's just another one of those things that confirms I'm slowly turning into my parents.

This small batch mango chutney is bright in colour and in flavour. Scented with whole cumin and mustard seeds, the result is a sweet and tangy chutney that is as much at home with some butter chicken as it is on a cheese-topped cracker. I've given instructions for canning it, but if you eat a lot of chutney in your home and you don't want to can it, you could just store the whole batch in the fridge for up to three months.

To prepare:
  • I boiled my clean jars in the boiling water canner for 10 minutes, then left them in hot water until ready to be filled with hot chutney.
  • The sealing discs and ring bands were brought to a boil in a small saucepan then left in hot water until ready for use.
Here's how I made it:
makes 5 half pint/250 ml jars

2 cups diced onion
1 tbsp cumin seed
6 cups diced mango (about 4 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced)
3 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root

I warmed a large pot over medium heat, then added the onions, cooking for a couple minutes while stirring frequently just until they began to release some moisture. I added the cumin seeds to toast a little and stirred frequently while the onions cooked a couple minutes longer, without browning. The remaining ingredients were added and the mixture was brought to a boil over high heat. The chutney boiled on high heat for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

I ladled the hot chutney into my hot jars, leaving a 1/4-inch of headspace, then wiped the jar rims clean with a wet paper towel. The discs were secured in place with the bands just until finger tight, and my jars were lowered into the rack of my already-boiling water bath canner, resting 1-2 inches below the water surface. The jars were processed (boiled hard) for 15 minutes, then removed from the canner to a towel on the kitchen counter to form their seal and cool for 12-24 hours (the centre of the lids should stay down when pressed after 24 hours).

I absolutely loved this chutney spooned on turkey burgers. It now has a home on my fridge shelves as the cycle of obsessive condiment use passes down from generation to generation.

Did you grow up in a condiment family? What lives on the shelves of YOUR fridge door? Leave a comment and your condiment confessions.