I bought a pineapple for a fruit salad for the younger brat’s birthday party. In the chaos of preparing for the party—which included an extended wrestling session with an inflated and partially filled kiddie pool that could have been the showstopper in a Buster Keaton film—I forgot to cut up said pineapple for the fruit salad. I then forgot about the pineapple until the day before we were to leave for Los Angeles. Admittedly, this is a hard thing to do; not forgetting in general: any fool can forget all kinds of things and I often do. But it is difficult to forget a pineapple because, unless you actively hide it, a pineapple is a very visible thing, almost flagrantly so; tends to catch the eye—there’s a reason Carmen Miranda didn’t put a pineapple on her head (didn’t want the competition, you see); and if she did, it also proves my point. So unless you hid a pineapple—and who could forget hiding a pineapple?—it would be hard to forget a pineapple. But I did. And then I saw it and I had to do something with it that didn’t include eating it as we had lots of other fruit to finish before leaving and when it comes to the frantic overeating of fruit it is mangoes and not pineapples I am partial to. The effort of making jam from one pineapple—not to mention the uncertainty about canning said jam given that pineapple is a high pH fruit—did not appeal. Chutney then.
- Puree of a medium pineapple, yielding about a 1.5 lbs of fruit once peeled.
- 1-2 tblspns of grated ginger.
- 6-8 dried hot red chillies, ground to a powder.
- 1-1.5 cups of sugar.
- 2-3 tblspns of lemon juice.
- Salt to taste
- Mix the pureed pineapple with all the other ingredients in a glass bowl and set aside for 15-30 minutes to come together well in a thick syrup.
- Give the syrup a vigorous stir and then bring to a boil in a saucepan. Keep at a vigorous boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring from time to time.
- Taste as you go and stop when the consistency and flavours are where you’d like them to be.
- Fill into clean jars.
- The above proportions yielded almost exactly 1.5 pints of chutney. You could make it thicker, of course.
- You could increase or reduce the amount of chillies but you do need the heat to counteract the sugar and round out the ginger.
- If your pineapple is very sweet reduce the amount of sugar.
- You could make other fruit chutneys in the same way—this is more or less the way in which I usually make peach chutney.
- I am very iffy about canning pineapple preserves. Even though there’s a fair bit of lemon juice in here the high pH of pineapple worries me, especially as I do not have a pressure canner. So, I wouldn’t suggest making this in a larger batch.This should keep in the fridge for at least a month. Keep some for yourself, give some away to others for immediate consumption.
- Uses? Serve alongside roast chicken or grilled pork; smear it on firm white fish and bake; serve alongside a nice stinky cheese or with soft cheese atop toast points.