Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Big-batch Mango Chutney Recipe from the ’60s

July 1st, 2009 · 7 Comments


Long-lost recipe makes a baby-bathtub full

I am still in contact with so many of my food readers from The Palm Beach Post — many have become friends I keep  in touch with regularly.

One whom I recently found again is Ingrid Hugel of Lake Worth. We met this week at the Palm Beach County Quilters’ Guild where I’m a member. It was chaotic as usual before the meeting, so she shoved a paper into my purse and said, “Here’s that mango chutney recipe I asked you for a year or so ago. I’m getting ready to make it.”

I followed up with her on it – she’s been making it for years but had misplaced her copy a while back and needed to retrieve it from The Post’s archives. It’s from a “Mrs. Gordon” – and I have no way of knowing who that might be, though it could be the notable Mrs. Bob Gordon of Palm Beach.

Be warned before you start: This makes enough for the Lower Prussian army – call in friends to help and turn the work into fun making it, unless you just like to work alone. It’s a lot of chopping, and I don’t recommend the food processor because the ripe mangoes will turn to puree in a heartbeat.

I asked Ingrid if she has made hers yet. “No – I’m still gathering the mangoes and shopping for the rest of it. Two or three ladies get together to make it — it’s a two-day affair so we’re getting ready.”

Hatcher Mango Hill can help

It’s a good recipe to have when ripe mangoes are literally falling in backyards everywhere as they are here – this is a serious crop year for our local mangoes.

If you don’t have enough of your own, you can order the famous Hatcher mangoes from Hatcher Mango Hill now for pickup in July and August when they’re ripe. Owner Marilyn Hatcher currently has a bumper crop of Hatcher and Hayden mangoes – along with everyone else in South Florida.

Choose pots carefully when canning

Ingrid told me that at first, she didn’t have a pot big enough for it — you need an enamel or stainless one – don’t use aluminum or copper as they’re reactive metals. She intially used the enamel crisper drawers from her refrigerator to let it stand overnight and macerate. Her daughter had an enameled baby’s bathtub that worked equally well. A large glass container or crock as used for sauerkraut also would work. (No plastic.)

The recipe calls for hot red pepper, garlic and ginger — all spicy ingredients. Instructions are at the end to make the stuff less spicy if you choose.

There are no directions as to canning it other than sealing into hot, clean jars. It’s meant for the refrigerator where it will keep well into 2 years if not cross-contaminated (always use clean spoons and knives when dipping out handmade foods). I add a note at the end that might help keep it sealed more tightly.

Not just for toast!

I am highly allergic to mangoes and don’t handle or eat raw ones. I’m looking forward to sampling some of Ingrid’s already canned chutney, though.

Ideas for serving: It goes so great with Cuban-style roast pork (my first choice), turkey, grilled chicken and grilled fish. You could use it in the recipe I printed a while back for salsa-couscous chicken – just add some tomatoes to the dish along with the spices. Serve the chutney on Neufchatel or a Boursin cheese spread on a cracker for a fast nibble for company with a Sauterne. Eat it on banana-coconut bread – it’s a free trip to the Tropics! Use your extra jars for holiday gifts – if you can keep it that long.

Enjoy – and thanks, Ingrid!

Mrs. Gordon’s Mango Chutney

Time: 2 days

Equipment: Large non-reactive containers; 25 pint or 15 quart canning jars and lids, boiled and drained for canning, or run through the dishwasher and sterilized.

Yield: Approximately 25 pints.

  • 15 pounds cut-up ripe mangos (weigh fruit after dicing)
  • 5 pounds brown sugar — half dark, half light
  • 1 15-ounce box seedless raisins
  • 1 15-ounce box currants (or golden raisins)
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons crushed red pepper (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 8 small garlic cloves, minced (see note)
  • 2 pounds onions, chopped fine
  • 1 pound crystallized ginger, minced (see note)

Weigh mangoes after dicing. Measure and mix all ingredients except crystallized ginger. Let stand overnight, covered lightly, in an enamelled, glass or crockery container.

The next day, put mixture into one or two large kettles and heat very slowly to low boiling point. (Mixture will burn – take care to do this slowly.) Stir and skim the film as chutney bubbles gently.

In 3-1/2 to 4 hours the film will no longer rise and chutney will look rich and thick.

Add crystallized ginger during last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Remove from heat. Ladle into hot, clean jars and seal.

Refrigerate. Keeps for 2 years or more in refrigeration.

Jan’s notes and tips:

  • To make it less spicy, reduce the red pepper to 3 tablespoons; the garlic to 4 cloves and the crystallized ginger to 1/2 pound.
  • To put a better seal on the jars, once they’re sealed and while mixture is still hot, turn the jars upside down immediately on the counter, and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, the lids should appear concave, and be pulled tight.
  • For a different tang and texture, choose green, firm mangoes for 1/4 of the mangos called for.

Warning: Do not eat from any home canning jar with a lid that appears swollen or popped out; it could contain toxins. Do not depend on smell or sight to determine this — discard the food. If any home canned food appears to have bubbles around the edges, discard – these, too, are signs of toxins at work. Refrigerating canned foods once cooled keeps potential toxins at bay; keeping them under 42 degrees is key.

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Minnie // Dec 1, 2009 at 3:23 am

    What size of box for the raisins and currants?

  • 2 Jan Norris // Dec 1, 2009 at 9:46 am

    The 15-ounce sized box is used in this recipe. I’ll include in the instructions.

  • 3 Kyle // Dec 22, 2010 at 11:54 am


  • 4 marie // May 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Hi – is the reason you let it stand overnight to have it ferment a bit, or just to develop the flavors?


  • 5 Jan Norris // May 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    With both sugar and acid in it, I don’t think it ferments too much; it does concentrate the flavor, however.

    If others have great ideas or a better recipe, shoot them to me and I’ll publish them as well.

  • 6 Mary Odell // Jul 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Hey, have you ever canned Mrs. Gordon’s Mango Chutney? If so what was the processing type and time?
    Thanks, Mary Odell

  • 7 Jan Norris // Jul 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I am allergic to mangoes (!), so don’t make chutney. Maybe one of the other readers here can help her out?
    I’m assuming a hot-water bath process – and the timing would depend on how many jars you have in the canner and size of the canner.
    For what it’s worth: The USDA guide to canning (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html) says 10 minutes for processing.

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