All things chickeney and mutt’ny
Taste better far when served with chutney.
This is the mystery eternal:
Why didn’t Major Grey make colonel?

— by John F. Mackay

The last peaches of the season
The last peaches of the season

Peach Chutney
Peach Chutney

Peach Chutney
Peach Chutney

Mystery Eternal

There is a whole world of chutneys — a condiment made of fruits, vegetables, and spices. Different kinds of chutney are prevalent in South Asia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. They can be made with fresh ingredients or cooked, pounded until smooth or chunky. Vinegar, citrus juice, or tamarind paste can be added for preservation, or the whole mixture is fermented. For cooked chutneys, vegetables and spices can be fried in sesame or peanut oil. So many variations! The recipes vary from region to region.

Two Shades of Grey

The colonization of India has had a huge impact on British cuisine. A large number of Anglo-Indian recipes stood out to form a new culinary tradition. Some adaptations have become so popular they are considered British now. Major Grey’s style chutneys are among them.

There is a number of culinary creations named for the famous people, but how many of them are known as widely as for two Greys of Britain? Earl Grey vs. Major Grey joke can be heard here and there over and over again. Gastronomic observers do not hesitate to spread funny facts and legends about the origins of Earl Grey tea and Major Gray’s chutney.

“As for Major Grey, there seems to be no evidence that he was related to the Earl, a possibility I considered on the chance that a discerning palate was a family trait. A representative of Libby, McNeill & Libby, the company that now owns Crosse & Blackwell, one of the manufacturers of chutney, reported that Major Grey was an officer in the Bengal Lancers and was something of a food connoisseur. While in India, he or his Bengali cook created this chutney by combining mangoes, raisins, chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar and spices. The formula was eventually sold to Crosse & Blackwell, then an English company, founded in 1706.”

Major Grey’s chutney was less spicy than Indian chutneys. This pungent, sweet and sour, bright fruit jam was ideal for traditional British boiled or roasted meat and poultry and English cheeses. Mass production of mango chutney aside, British housewives and cooks experimented with less exotic fruits and berries of Albion. Chutneys were made with local fruit, onion, vinegar, and sugar, boiled to thicken with the addition of various spices and herbs, most commonly ginger, mustard seeds, and different kinds of peppers.

Basic Proportions

1 part ​​fruit
1/4 part sugar (preferably brown)
1/4 part vinegar (preferably apple)
1/4 part onions (can be increased to 1/2)
1/4 part golden raisins (can and must be mixed or replaced with currants)
1/4 part citrus juice (with or without pulp and zest)
1/8 parts fresh ginger (can be replaced with ginger powder in smaller quantities)
1/8 part garlic
1/8 part of mustard seeds (they lose their pungency when cooked and mostly create the texture)

Adjust sweetness, sourness, spiciness, and heat to you taste.

Spices to consider: chili, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, allspice, nutmeg. Spices can be added freshly ground OR wrapped in cheese cloth, cooked with chutney, then removed.

Serving Ideas

Oat Crisps + Cheddar + Peach Chutney to pair with Scottish wee heavy beer
Baguette + Brie + Peach Chutney
Ciabatta + Smoke Cornish Han + Peach Chutney
Rye bread + Ham + Peach Chutney

Peach Chutney, Major Grey's Style

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Keyword: condiment, dip, fruit, garlic, ginger, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, mustard, peach, recipe
Servings: 1 pint

Ingredients

  • 400 g peach fresh, ripe but firm
  • 40 g key lime juice
  • 100 g onion sweet
  • 15 g garlic
  • 60 g currants
  • 120 g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger ground
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 5 cloves ground
  • 1 tsp pink pepper corns ground
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 120 ml peach balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  • Blanch and peel peaches. Dice peaches and onions. Slice garlic.
  • In a sauce pan, mix all ingredients but spices and leave for an hour to draw juices, covered.
  • Add spices and vinegar and slowly bring to simmering. Cook for about 40 minutes to thicken, stirring from time to time. Cook it not covered on the lowest heat.
  • Transfer to clean glass jars and seal. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Peach Balsamic Vinegar by Texas Hill Country Olive Company