its that time of year, its stinking hot, the humidity is so high you could wring the air like a wet tee-shirt, everyone is slightly crazy – locally described as mango madness as the build up coincides with the ripening of the magnificent mango – and the false promise of welcome rain is teased with the rolling build up clouds and distant rumbles of thunder, alas it skirts around us through october, november and most of december.
so there is nothing to do but sneak around searching for the sweetest and best mango crops in town, each different season and year brings out the best in different trees, but this has been a bumper season all round and most trees are bending under the strain of some of the biggest crops of mangoes i can remember seeing. our own tree is prolific, filled with huge, sweet bowens. we fight a battle day and night defending our crop from marauding cockies in the day and stinking, squarking, fruit bats at night.
both drop the huge mangoes like depth charges on the roof of the back verandah, scaring the wits out of unsuspecting visitors and causing us to let forth a stream of cursing and swearing at the thieves!
then its into the kitchen to make huge batches of mango chutney, i just slice each side off the stone, scoop the flesh of the skin with a glass and then chop roughly.
then its make up the chutney, loads of garlic, ginger, onion, spices, sugar, vinegar, limes, chilli, and today a fat old eggplant that was in the fridge. i boil that all gently for half an hour or so until its reduced down and then chuck the mango in.
while the chutney is doing its thing its time to sterilize the jars and do a few taste tests to get the flavour balance on point.
after a couple of hours and about 4 beers the chutney is ready to bottle and time to start thinking of dishes to have with the chutney – i think a few curries might be in order this week!
note the wooden sppon created by kai in his woodwork class, adds a little something special!
The rough form of my recipe for the mango chutney is along these lines,
1 ½ cup sugar (1 cup brown ½ castor)
1 ½ cup vinegar
Chop up the garlic, ginger, onion and chilli and fry in large saucepan, add the rest of the spices, sugar and vinegar and chopped up limes and cook until the mix reduces about 25-30% and then add the chopped up mangoes and cook on a simmer until it all comes together nicely.