Strawberry Jalapeno Chutney

Strawberry’s peak season is here, and it’ll keep running from April through June. You’ll start finding them in salads, on ice cream, and of course in jams. Strawberries have long captured our imagination since 1714, when they were brought from Chile to Europe by French military engineer Amédée-François Frézier.

Since then strawberries have leapt out of the boundaries of the kitchen into products all over, ranging from lip balm, to scented candles. Can you blame us? The scent reminds us of their characteristic bright red color, their sweetness, and of warm spring days.

If you’re anything like me, you probably marched yourself off to the market when they were brought in and bought multiple bags of stawberries. Now you’re stuck at home wondering what you’re going to do with all of them before they go bad.

Before you reach for the sugar to make jam…

You might want to consider making something with more savoury uses. Jam is great, but it’s not that versatile. Chutney, on the other hand, has a miriad of uses. The mixture of savoriness and sweetness makes for a great combination which you can use virtually anywhere.

Take it a step further and add a few chili peppers into the mix, and you’ve got yourself an acidic, spicy, sweet condiment which you’ll want to use on everything.

Q: What’s the difference between Chutney and Jam?

Jam uses sugar as the main method of preservation. Chutney uses both sugar and vinegar. The vinegar raises the acidity level of the mixture, making it less habitable for harmful pathogens. Also, jams are usually fruit based whereas Chutneys can be made with vegetables as well.

Lastly, in chutneys it’s common to use spices for additional flavour; a practice which is unusual in jams.

Q: How do I use Strawberry Chutney?

Some great uses for this Chutney are to add it next to brie on a cheese platter, as a burger topping, and most of all: smeared onto one side of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Making strawberry chutney takes very few ingredients. In fact you likely have everything you need tucked away in your kitchen. You’ll need red wine vinegar, sugar, red wine, and a bit of oil. That’s it. Let’s get down to it.

Q: How long will this chutney last?

If you bottle it into an airtight jar and refrigerate it, it will last over 2 months.

But it’ll be gone in a week. I guarantee it.

Ingredients

  • 500g / 1lb Strawberries cut into thick chunks

  • 4 Jalapenos, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 habanero, deseeded and chopped

  • 4 cayenne chili peppers (or any long red chili which isn’t too hot), deseeded and chopped

  • 180g / 6.3 oz white sugar

  • 120g / 4.2 oz red wine (ideally Pinot Noir)

  • 240g / 8.4 oz red wine vinegar

  • A pinch of salt

Method

  • In a deep skillet on high heat, add a small amount of oil, and fry the chilis, jalapenos, and habanero for 3 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to medium. Add the stawberries and sugar, and stir until the sugar melts and browns slightly. 5 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar, a pinch of salt, and wine. Reduce for around 30 minutes until the mixture turns into a thick jam. Stir occassionally during this time.
  • Pour it into an airtight jar, and store in the refrigarator for over 2 months.